Alcyonium hibernicum (Renouf, 1931)

Alcyonium hibernicum

Description: This small soft coral typically forms Alcyonium-like fingers up to 40mm tall. It is pink in colour, with white flecks on the tentacles.

Habitat: Found in localities somewhat sheltered from strong wave action and out of the light. On rocks with little algal growth, beneath overhangs, in crevices, caves, on wrecks, etc. Depth range 0-35m. May occur in enclosed situations such as sea lochs (loughs) where salinity is slightly reduced.

Ecology: Known to produce larvae which settle close to the parent colony, resulting in very localised distribution.

Distribution: Very local on west coasts of the British Isles, north to Mull, western Scotland. Can be quite common in suitable localities.

Similar Species: May be confused with small colonies of Alcyonium digitatum but habitat preferences, colour and 'spangled' appearance of polyps should enable a positive identification.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map:  download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)

Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slow, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2015). Alcyonium hibernicum (Renouf, 1931). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2015-10-9

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