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(Ellis and Solander, 1786)

Species Overview

Leucosolenia botryoides (Ellis and Solander, 1786) is a mass of whitish tubes in the shape of a bunch of grapes or bananas. It is similar to other Leucosolenia species from the area but its spicules are more robust (thicker rays) and the proportion of T-shaped triactines is much higher (microscopic examination).

Taxonomic Description

Colour: White.
Shape, size, surface and consistency: Bunches of tubes, each ending in an oscule. The bushes rise up from a network of tubes on the substrate. Height up to 12 mm, individual tubes 05.-3 mm in diameter. Surface of the tubes smooth. Consistency soft.
Spicules: (Leucosolenia botryoides spics) Calcareous. Triactines, sagittal, many having a characteristic T-shape, paired rays: 80-100 x 6-14 µm, basal rays: 30-80 x 10-14 µm; tetractines similar in size and shape to triactines, and with apical rays: 30-140 x 6-14 µm; oxeas, lanceolate at their distal ends: 60-80 x 6-10 µm.
Skeleton: Asconoid. Apical rays of the tetractines project into the atrial cavity.
Ecology: Shallow water, from the tidemark downwards to 18 m, on algae.
Distribution: British Isles, Norway, Sweden, Helgoland.
Etymology: botryoides (Greek) = like a bunch of grapes, referring to the habit.
Type specimen information: No type material in BMNH.

Remarks

This species may be similar to L. variabilis in its bush-shaped form, but that species has thinner spicules and only a few T-shaped triactines. The tubes are swollen which does not occur in L. variabilis.
Source: Arndt, 1935.

Leucosolenia botryoides