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Eunicea calyculata Ellis and Solander, 1786
Plexauridae








Common Name(s): Warty sea rod.
Colony Form: Bushy with tangled branches arising along much of colony, not just near base; to 1.8 m high; the only Eunicea species that does not exhibit a candelabrum pattern. Dichotomous branching in all directions.
Axis: Cylindrical in cross-section.
Branches: Ascending branches thick, flexible, cylindrical, long, usually 6.0-20 mm in diameter. Thinner at greatest depths.
Apertures: Regularly placed; calyx either present or not. Calices may be flat, conical, or mound-like (not tubular) and project with ridges on inner aperture lip. Aperture borders may be only projecting or appear sealed or gaping. Lower rim does not form an obvious lip-like structure as other Euniceas.
Mucus: Absent.
Color: Color varies from reddish ochre to beige to dark ochre.
Sclerites:Polyp armature a wide collar with numerous rod sclerites about 0.1–0.5 mm long. Axial layer: pale violet spindles to 0.25 mm long, with a few but notable ornamens. Middle layer: transparent spindles 0.6–2 mm long, sometimes curved and widened in middle. Surface layer: Small and enlarged clubs with multiple and radial rows in the handle ending in a sharp head, to 0.12 mm. Also, torch clubs with one row of ornaments in the handle.
Habitat: On fore reef terraces and seaward reefs moderately exposed to wave and current in 10-30 m depths. Along the Outer Linear Reef ledge in Broward County, FL.
Distribution: Bahamas, Bermuda, South Florida, Gulf of Mexico, and the northern Caribbean. Uncommon in the southern Caribbean.
Notes: Possibly a complex of several species. Calyx morphotypes are usually found within the same habitat; morphotypes such as E. coronata deserve careful revision (Sánchez, 2009). Branch thickness and calyx exhibit high polymorphism among individuals.
Reference(s): Ellis & Solander (1786), Bayer (1961), Cairns (1977), Collin et al. (2005).
Similar species:None.