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Plant Bondage

A diminutive Lemnaiia sp. that appears to be "in bondage" with commensal brittle stars. J. Sprung

This Sinularia species could easily be contused with Lemnaiia, which it superficially resembles. However, Sinularia has large spindle type sclerites in the base. J. C. Delbeek

In the surface, Lemnaiia spp. usually have capstans and/or capstan derivatives (curved or boomerang shaped spindles often with knobs that make them look like drawings of flying seagulls). Sometimes they have smooth spindles with a few large knobs near the centre. In the interior normally they have long needle shaped sclerites, often with rough ends. There is a lot of variability to sclerites in this genus, however.

Colour: Lighi brown, whitish gray.

Distinguishing Characteristics: Lemnaiia is arborescent but with finer branches than Nephthea, polyps generally without supporting sclerite bundles, and, to the naked eye the sclerites are not as obvious in the stalk.

Similar Species: A closely related genus, Paralemnalia, is distinguished by forming encrusting mats with digitate branches that bear retractile polyps similar to the other members of this group (Nephthea, Capnella, Neospongodes...). There are several species of Sinularia that superficially resemble Lemnaiia. Lemnaiia does not have the large spindle shaped sclerites of Sinularia, however.

Natural Habitat: Reef slopes with strong illumination and periodically strong w^ater motion.

Aquarium Care: Lemnalia species like strong light but can be grown well even in aquariums with just a few fluorescent tubes. Their care is essentially the same as for Capnella and Nephthea. Lemnalia and Paralemnalia both are very prone to infections that can wipe out an entire colony. If a portion of the colony appears to be decomposing, sever it with a scissors and remove the decomposing piece from the aquarium. Do not delay because such infections spread quickly and may kill the whole colony. The removed piece can be isolated in an aerated bucket of water with 5 ppm of Streptomycin. Sometimes it is possible to save infected fragments or colonies this way. Do not place an infected fragment or colony into an aquarium with other invertebrates. The fouling could kill them too. Lemnalia species are rare imports from Africa, Indonesia, and the Solomon Islands, where they are common. They do not ship well and die easily if mishandled. For this reason Lemnalia is unlikely to become common in the aquarium trade unless captive propagation makes it available locally, thus avoiding the trauma of collection and long-distance shipping.

Reproduction: In aquaria Lemnalia often drop branchlets as a result of fission. Small cuttings can be taken with a scissors also. No reports of sexual reproduction are known.

Genus: Neospongodes

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