new zoantharian species
An unusual new solitary species of zoantharian was discovered while conducting SCUBA surveys around the southern Japanese island of Okinawa. These new polyps were found buried almost completely in the soft sediment of the seafloor with only their oral disks and tentacles protruding above the surface. Most known zoantharians are colonial but these newly discovered polyps are not only solitary but they also lack zooxanthellae.
Up to now only three species in the Sphenopus genus have been described and these all more than 100 years ago and all from the Indo-Pacific region. The new species, Sphenopus exilis, is much smaller than the other three described species with its polyps measuring approximately 3 cm long.
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