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NEW CORAL SPECIES
Christmas Tree Coral A new species of black coral was discovered 40 miles offshore from Los Angeles. Milton Love of UC Santa Barbara and Mary Yoklavich of NMFS Santa Cruz Lab first observed the Christmas Tree Coral Antipathes dendrochristos in 1995 while surveying rockfishes in the Delta submersible.

In 2005, the coral was classified as a new species and announcement of the discovery was made in the scientific journal Zootaxa.
  Christmas Tree Coral - photo Tom Laidig
Christmas Tree Coral During the past 10 years, Love and Yoklavich made more than 300 dives off southern California in Delta and encountered 135 colonies of the previously unknown coral.

The researchers named the new species Antipathes dendrochristos or the "Christmas Tree Coral" because it looked like a snow-flocked holiday tree. The corals are red, pink, white or gold. Most are small, but some have been seen at up to 10 feet high and 15 feet wide.

photo Mark Amend  
Channel Islands The coral has been observed at depths of 300 to 750 feet along the coast of southern California, including in the Channel Islands and off Santa Barbara.

The coral is a natural habitat for worms, crustaceans and other organisms. One worm found living in its branches may also be a new species.
  Channel Islands
Delta - making new discoveries possible  
San Miguel Sunrise For more information:
Opresko, D.M. A New Species of Antipatharian Coral (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Antipatharia) from the Southern California Bight. in Zootaxa 852:1-10 (February 11, 2005)

Video of the Christmas Tree Coral: http://www.id.ucsb.edu/lovelab

The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific
by Milton Love and Mary Yoklavich

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