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Valenciennes in Milne Edwards and Haime, 1850

Type species: Lituaria phalloides (Pallas, 1766)

Total number of species estimated: 1

Description: Growth form cylindrical to clavate, often rigid. Axis well-developed, often with outgrowths or longitudinal grooves. Polyp leaves absent. Polyps retractile into rachis. Calyces absent. Autozooids evenly distributed all around rachis. Siphonozooids densely set between autozooids. Sclerites are tuberculated capstan-like forms or irregularly-shaped broad plates many of which have denticles on the ends. Other forms are rods, crosses, and smooth bone- or bisquit-shaped plates. Interior of peduncle without minute ovals. Plyp sclerites present or absent. Zooxanthellae not reported.

Habitat: Mostly deeper water but some in sandy reefal areas.

Range: Indo-West Pacific (southeastern Africa to Japan and New Guinea); 3-150 meters in depth. The highest diversity of species is in the tropical western Pacific.

Additional remarks: Lituaria hicksoni has sclerites very unlike other sea pens: capsan-like forms that resemble some alcyonacean sclerites. Vidal et al. (1992) report new macrocyclic lactones from Lituaria australasiae .

Genus Lituaria