Porous sea rod – Pseudoplexaura porosa
The holes from which the polyps project are large and crowded together, and are arranged spirally up the branches. The polyps overlap each other, each one having eight tentacles. The polyps spread out their tentacles to feed on plankton both day and night. The octocoral has symbionts with zooxanthellae that inhabit the tissues.
The polyps are armed with nematocysts (stinging cells) and can be retracted into the branches defensively. Pseudoplexaura porosa has few predators that feed on it including the flamingo tongue snail, nudibranchs, butterflyfish and some angelfish.
Individual colonies of P. porosa are either male or female. On particular nights about five days after a full moon in summer, mature colonies liberate gametes into the sea. Planula larvae that develop from fertilized eggs sink to the seabed five days later and undergo metamorphosis to found new colonies. These are soon colonized by zooxanthellae and grow by budding of new polyps. Besides growing asexually and reproducing sexually, pieces of this coral may detach from the parent colony and become fixed to substrate to create a new colony. P. porosa can live for several decades, and the greatest cause of mortality is detachment from the seabed during tropical storms
pseudo – Greek ‘false, lying’ +plex – Latin ‘to plait’ a single length of flexible material made up of three or more interlaced strands; a braid.
porosa – Latin porus ‘an opening’
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