Invertebrates

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Examples of identifying species


Identifying a species can range from being very easy, to nearly impossible with the naked eye.  Soft corals notoriously fall into the difficult to ID.  As a result, we all need to be very cautious and avoid using assumptions when ID'ing a soft corals. 


Below are some anatomy features to corals, as well as some examples of soft coral ID, to demonstrate the potential difficulty.

Corallite Colony
Arrangements

Tabulate (Table & plate)

Cup shaped (Soft coral)

Digitate

Finger like corals that extend vertically from a flat base

Corymbose

Finger like corals that extend nearly vertically from a common, smaller base

Caepitose

Caespitose-Corymbose

Bottlebrush

Hispidose

Encrusting

Columnar

Foliaceous (cup shaped)

Foliaceous (whorl shaped)

Branching (Caespitose)

Free living (solitary)

Aborescent (Stagehorn)

Aborescent (Elkhorn)

Massive

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