Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

 General colony shape similar to Alcyonium digitatum with an irregular, lobed form. However, in this species the lobes are more slender (not more than 2 cm wide), up to 30 cm high and often branched. Blood red or rust in colour, rarely pale orange or yellow, but the polyps are always white. When the polyps are visible, each has eight pinnate tentacles, which give a feathery appearance to the surface of the colony.May be confused with Alcyonium digitatum.
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Description

Colonies of this soft coral branch into numerous slender 'fingers' which are less than 25mm in diameter (without polyps). Usually red or deep orange in colour, rarely yellowish; polyps usually white. Height of expanded colony up to 200mm. This species is distinct from the Mediterranean Alcyonium palmatum, which lives on soft substrates, but may be identical to Alcyonium acaule - Mediterranean, hard substrates. Should not be confused with Alcyonium digitatum as fingers of latter, if present, are always stouter, less contractile, and usually paler in colour. Note also different habitat preferences.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Distribution

West coasts of the British Isles, north to western Scotland and south to Biscay. It is rather local in its occurrence but often abundant where present. Any records east of Torbay or north of the Irish Sea would be welcomed.
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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 58 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 24 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 44.5
  Temperature range (°C): 10.625 - 11.851
  Nitrate (umol/L): 4.573 - 8.618
  Salinity (PPS): 35.008 - 35.352
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.013 - 6.328
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.333 - 0.574
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.442 - 3.419

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 44.5

Temperature range (°C): 10.625 - 11.851

Nitrate (umol/L): 4.573 - 8.618

Salinity (PPS): 35.008 - 35.352

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.013 - 6.328

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.333 - 0.574

Silicate (umol/l): 2.442 - 3.419
 
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 On bedrock in gullies and caves at locations sheltered from strong wave action below 10 -15 m. It can also be found on more open coasts in the far south west.
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Typically on sheltered vertical rock faces in the circalittoral zone, or in crevices, beneath overhangs etc. Occurs in places with little water movement but usually on the open coast, such as on the lee side of islands or offshore rocks. May be in more open situations in deeper water. Depth range about 10-50m.
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Wikipedia

Alcyonium glomeratum

Alcyonium glomeratum or red sea fingers is a species of soft coral in the Alcyoniidae family. It is found around the southern and western coasts of Britain and Ireland.[2]

Contents

Description

Red sea fingers is similar in shape to Alcyonium digitatum but is usually blood red or rust coloured. The finger-shaped lobes are slender and can be up to thirty centimetres long. The polyps are white and each one has eight pinnate tentacles which give the colony a feathery appearance when they are extended.[2]

Distribution

This coral is found on the west coast of Britain and Ireland, north to western Scotland and south to the Bay of Biscay. It is quite localised but may be abundant in places.[3]

Habitat

This coral is found on bedrock in gullies, crevices and under overhangs in sheltered locations in the sublittoral zone at depths exceeding ten metres.[2] It favours open water on the lee side of islands and rocks.[3]

References

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