The hydropolyp fauna of the Red Sea area
2019-11-21T16:14:47Z (GMT) by
46 hydropolyp species of 28 genera and 10 families were sampled during the "Meteor" passage 1964/65 (IIOE) through the Red Sea and its northern and southern exits and on the occasion of several ecological investigations of 29 selected coral reef sections of the central Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. These collections comprise 128 single records of hydropolyp species. Three species and two genera each with one species are doubtful. 25 species, seven genera, one family and one subfamily, together from 49 records have not previously been found in the Red Sea and its exits. Including these newly reported species, the total list increases from 64 species and 112 records to 89 species and 240 single records and 51 additional ones. Scanning microscopical photos, made for the first time for the illustration of the hydropolyps, have been shown to be suitable for a better characterization and diagnosis of the species. Qualified results on the reasons for the horizontal distribution of the species known from the Red Sea area cannot be given because of the low number of samples sporadically distributed through the whole area. In contrast with this fact, the vertical spread of the species sampled seems primarily to be regulated by water exchange and light intensity. For example, four species of hydropolyps are excellent indicators of certain abiotic factors or combinations of them: Gymnangium eximium reacts extremely stenophote-photophobe-rheophil, Eudendrium ramosum moderately stenophote-photophobe-rheophobe, Lytocarpus philippinus moderately stenophote-photophil-rheophil, and Halocordyle disticha var. australis extremely stenophote-photophil but moderately rheophil. Other species have been found throughout all the light zones. Combined with the small size of their colonies their euryphotic behaviour does not allow their use as indicator species.