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Himantozoum antarcticum (Calvet, 1909)

provided by British Antarctic Survey

Description

Orange/green to white in colour. This species forms long thin, branching fronds. These curl lengthwise so the colony seems to ‘flop’ a bit. The branches are just a few zooids wide

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Species details

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Species distribution

25m to deep water, on hard and soft substrates inside the Polar Frontal zone (so not Subantarctic islands) from South Georgia and Bouvet Island through to Antarctic continental waters. Has not been reported from East Antarctica.

H. antarcticum is an endemic Antarctic species, which can be very abundant but is probably ignored by zoologists mistaking it for a clump of algae. It (suspension) feeds for just over half the year and probably grows quickly (for a polar species). Its rear surface is often colonised by spirorbid worms.
The main observed predators of H. antarcticum are pycnogonans, though it seems likely other animals might eat it too.

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