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An intertidal Rhabdopleura (Hemichordata, Pterobranchia) from Fiji


  • *1978–80 School of Natural Resources, University of South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.


Rhabdopleura has been discovered living in coral rubble on reefs in Fiji. The habitat is unusual, being the underside of coral boulders in the intertidal zone. Some features of the environment and the fauna associated with the Rhabdopleura are briefly described. The Rhabdopleura zooids exhibit other modes of tube building besides the regular cylindrical horizontal and erect tubes. The colony ramifies through interstices in the dead coral and the zooids can line larger cavities within the coral with coenecial tissue. It is probably these cavities, together with the overall porosity of coral, that retain enough water to keep the zooids alive while the intertidal reef flat is exposed to the air. Within the depths of the coral the black stolons are frequently naked. The species is probably R. normani Allman.