There’s a new soft coral on the books and it’s called Sinularia levi. This new species of finger leather coral comes to us from the shallow waters of the Red Sea.
Sinularia levi was described from a re-examination of S. polydactyla, the pulsing finger leather coral, and likely identity of the reef-building soft coral we documented in the Solomon Islands.
You’d think that as well studied as the Red Sea is, all of its marine fauna, especially the immobile shallow water corals would be the low hanging fruit. This is somewhat the case but the widespread Sinularia polydactyla has been masking the existence of Sinularia levi, and other species in the genus.
Like nearly all soft corals, species level identification is determined mostly by microscopic examination of the internal sclerites. However, the official description of Sinularia levi does characterize the colony as having “primary lobes [that] give off short knob-like lobules up to 5 mm long”. The newly minted Sinularia levi is described by van Ofwegen et. al. in the April 2016 volume of ZooKeys. [ZooKeys]