Alternate Title

Observations on the Size, Predators and Tumor-Like Outgrowths of Gorgonian Octocoral Colonies in the Area of Santa Marta, Caribbean Coast of Colombia


Gorgonian communities of the Santa Marta area are dominated by species with large numbers of large colonies (height >40 cm) in contrast to that reported for other Caribbean sites where species with large numbers of small (<10 cm in height) colonies are predominant. Cyphoma gibbosum and Hermodice carunculata are the main predators of gorgonians in the area, but Cyphoma signatum and the fishes Alutera scripta, Acanthostracion quadricornis and Chaetodipterus faber were also observed feeding on gorgonians. Tumor-like outgrowths commonly appear in species of Pseudoplexaura and in Plexaura flexuosa and contain a chlorophyte Entocladia sp. Tubercle-like outgrowths in Plexaura homomalla, P. flexuosa, Pseudopterogorgia americana and Plexaurella grisea were found to contain a variety of invertebrates.