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Flatworms under lip of leather corals

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#1 echeng


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Posted 10 September 2005 - 06:05 PM

In Papua New Guinea last month, I noticed sticky filaments extending out from polyp-withdrawn leather corals at night. The filaments would retract after capturing the critters attracted to my dive lights. Upon closed inspection, I found many little flatworm-like animals hiding under the lip of the coral. They are orange or red spotted.

Saw quite a few of these while in Kavieng. Any ideas on what they are? Here are some photos:

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#2 james


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Posted 10 September 2005 - 07:38 PM

Hi Eric,

The filaments that extend from Sarchophyton sp corals are usually sessile ctenophores.
Pretty cool, eh? They also have a lot of flatworms that like to hang out there too.

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#3 Leslie


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Posted 10 September 2005 - 07:45 PM

Oh, these are so cool! Great photos! They're bizarre cousins of the pelagic comb jellies, benthic ctenophores known as the platyctenes. Like their free-swimming relatives they have 2 retractable tentacles which are used to capture food. I saw my first one in the BVI a couple of years ago & have been looking for more ever since.