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(Olivi, 1791)

Species Overview

Clathria (Clathria) coralloides (Olivi, 1791) is bushy-ramose or forms clathrate bushes with a vivid or dull-red colour. Branches cylindrical. Ends of branches somewhat swollen, often damaged-frayed. Surface coarsely punctate, rugose, hispid. Consistency fairly firm, incompressible. This is a southern species with its main occurrence in the Mediterranean.

Taxonomic Description

Colour: Red, vivid or more dully brick-red. Beige in alcohol.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: Groups of anastomosed cylindrical branches, forming clathrate masses of up to 25 cm high and 15 or more cm across (Clathria coralloides Mau). Individual branches 0.1-0.5 cm in diameter. Surface irregular, rugose, hispid; distinctly porous-punctate. Consistency firm, corky, not very compressible.
Spicules: (Clathria coralloides spics) Megascleres: ectosomal subtylostyles with ovoid head, with an occasional spine on it: 200-550 x 2-5 µm; main spicules are smooth somewhat curved styles: 200-500 x 12-15 µm; echinating acanthostyles are only lightly spined and resembling the main styles in shape, but smaller: 80-120 µm. Microscleres: Palmate isochelae: 13-20 µm, and toxas with shallow curve: 80-140 x 1-2 µm.
Skeleton: Ectosomal subtylostyles are arranged in bouquets. Main skeleton a reticulation of yellow spongin fibres, cored by smooth long styles and echinated by almost smooth acanthostyles. The main fibres are 300 µm in diameter, cored by one or two spicules per cross section. The interconnecting fibres are 200 µm in diameter and mostly devoid of spicules.
Ecology: Deeper water.
Distribution: Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic coasts of Spain (Galicia, cf. Solórzano, 1991) and North Africa.
Etymology: The species superficially resembles an octocoral.
Type specimen information: The type is probably lost; Schmidt's specimen is in the Graz Museum, LMJG 15356 (Desqueyroux and Stone, 1992), Triest.

Remarks

In Western Europe there is no matching species. In the Mediterranean it may be confused with the very similar C. compressa, but this has not been reported along the Atlantic coasts.
Source: Topsent, 1925a; Lévi, 1960.

Clathria coralloides