Corallimorpharians occur throughout the world and are found at all depths in temperate and tropical seas. However, they are a small order with only some forty to fifty species described (den Hartog, 1987). Corallimorphs are generally considered to be inter mediate in form between stony corals and sea anemones. Although they superficially resemble sea anemones in lacking a calcareous skeleton, anatomically they more closely resemble stony corals: they lack basilar muscles, they may have tissue connections between adult polyps, they lack ciliated tracts on their mesenterial filaments, and their cnidae are similar to sclerac tinian cnidae (Chadwick, 1987
Corallimorpharia can exhibit fantastic fluoresent colours as seen in this Ricordea florida.The function of these pigments is unknown. J, C. Delbeek
If soft coral taxonomy is as messy as a bag full of rotting Xenia (chapter one), imagine the same mess without the bag to hold it together and you have an idea of corallimorpharian taxonomy! The organization illustrated in Table 3.1 exemplifies the taxonomy in general acceptance today. Recently, den Hartog (1987; pers. comm.) has proposed eliminating the family Sideractidae and moving the two genera into the Corallimorphidae family. He has also proposed that the family Discosomatidae replace Actinodis-cidae and that all the remaining genera, save Ricordea be placed into it (den Hartog, 1980). This was based on the conclusion that the morphological characters being used to differentiate the genera were too vague, den Hartog further proposed that all species in the family (except Amplexidiscus) be placed in the genus Disco-soma until more reliable methods were found to delineate the various genera. Although the differences between certain species of Discosoma and Rhodactis are distinct, the differences between other species are much less so (den Hartog, pers. comm.).
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