A new species of coral reef belonging to the coral genus Psammogorgia was just recently discovered. This new coral can be distinguished from other members of the same genus by its small size, prominent calyces with wide lips around polyp apertures, and its color which is coral red. This new species obtained its name from Dr. Yuri Hooker; a biologist at the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University in Lima, Peru.
“This new species may be found nowhere else in the world. But coral reefs and coral communities in Peru have never been systematically studied. We expect more surprises as we look at new collections,” said Dr Hector Guzman of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, who is the second author of a paper appearing in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.
The new coral was identified based on colony characteristics and examinations of the coral using light scanning and electron microscopy.
Dr Hooker noted: “with logistical support from the Peruvian National Protected Areas Service, we’re beginning to discover the amazing biodiversity of corals and marine invertebrates in the Peruvian Pacific.” “It’s mostly a matter of looking in the right places and inviting experts who can identify these relatively unknown and unstudied creatures.”
As most of Peru’s waters are mostly unexplored, we look forward to new findings from this and future research.
Image credit: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.