The northwest pacific is a part of the world known for its coral reefs and two newly described species are helping add to the region’s biodiversity. The new zoanthids are part of an overview published last month covering the Epizoanthus of the Pacific Ocean and especially the reefs of Japan.
The two newly described Zoantharians are all azooxanthellate (non-photosynthetic). Perhaps the most interesting of the pair is Epizoanthus inazuma whose colonies form a lightning bolt appearance since they grow on the zig-zag shaped tubes of Eunicid worms. Epizoanthus inazuma has only been found growing in Okinawa thus far, but further investigation may discover this species in other parts of the Pacific Ocean.
Epizoanthus inazuma photographed at Cape Manzamo, Okinawa, Japan by H. Kise
Epizoanthus beriger is another new species of Zoanthid, named after the legendary Beriber of Palauan folklore, who lived in a cave at Oikuul in Airai State, as this species has been found only in caves. This species also grows exclusively on eunicid worm tubes, as small groups connected by moderately developed coenenchyme. Its color in life varies from white on the outside to a light brown oral disc, while the outerlying tentacles number between 20 and 22. [ZooKeys]
Apizoanthus beriger photographed by H. Kise at Turtle Cove, Palau
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