Pocillopora inflata, n. sp., a relatively rare zooxanthellate scleractinian coral, is described from live colonies collected in the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) and from three additional localities in the tropical, far-eastern Pacific region. Distinguishing features are (1) swollen terminal or subterminal branches, (2) verrucae acute and few in number or absent, and (3) columellae prominent in calices at mid to lower branch levels. The swollen branches and acute verrucae serve to separate Pocillopora inflata from two morphologically similar species: Pocillopora diomedeae Vaughan from Easter Island and Pocillopora informis Dana from Hawi'i. Comparisons of the type colony with paratypes from the Galapagos Islands and elsewhere in the eastern Pacific revealed notable intraspecific variability in peripheral branch thickness and verrucae number and length. This new species is found at shallow depths (2-10 m), often intermixed with other species of Pocillopora. Where present at five survey sites in the Galapagos Islands, it made up from 2 to 17% of all species of pocilloporids combined, with population densities ranging from 0.2 to 2.5 colonies per hectare.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||13|
|State||Published - Apr 1 1999|
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