I’ve more or less finished editing my pictures from a recent trip to the Mediterranean and have just a few more sets of images to share. I think these pictures show a particularly impressive community of animals; they have turned a simple rock wall into a stunning display of the very brightest orange.
The main species in these photographs is, I believe, the common zoanthid, Parazoanthus axinellae. As you can see it is just a little colorful! However, bright artificial lighting is necessary-I have bright flashguns that allow me to reveal these colors.
This and related Parazoanthus species are found below the twenty-meter mark in the Med on rocky walls and under overhangs, where they can avoid being overthrown by light-dependent algae.
P. axinellae looks a bit like one of the species of cup coral that grows in the region, but it doesn’t deposit calcium. Nor does it exist as a solitary animal (as many cup corals do), in fact you can see that individuals are connected by mat like tissue knowns a coenenchyme.
Whilst the zoanthid may be most obvious animal in these pictures, it is not the only creature of note. Sponges are very common and where a little light manages to reach, there may be coralline algae and even a few green algae specimens growing amongst the zoanthids.