Very special thanks for the first photo of Complexum pusillum to Dr. Stéphane Sartoretto, who gave us the permission to use the photos for thi new soft coral.
This species was found in Pointe Noire, Congo, in a depth of ten meters on a rock.
"The new species was initially thought to be a member of the genus Alcyonium, but a genetic study revealed it to be separate from the majority of species in the genus, though it is closely related to a group of other species from the west coast of Africa. For this reason a new genus is erected, Complexum, for this and other species from West Africa formerly assigned to Alcyonium. The name Complexum means complex, a reference to the complex tubercles on the spindle elements of the skeletons of this genus. The species is given the specific name pusillum, meaning ‘tiny’ in reference to the size of its colonies.
Complexum pusillum forms tiny lobe-like colonies on rocks 5-20 m deep between the outflow of the Congo River and that of the Kouilou River. This is an area of high turbidity, with a high input of sediment and other material from the river – not an environment usually favoured by Corals. The polyps of the Coral are completely withdrawn, possibly as an adaptation to this high sediment input environment, so that is superficially resembles a Sponge more than a Coral"
Complexum pusillum sp. n., Banc du Conflit, depth 10 m. A General view of a small patch of colonies on rocky bottom B Magnified view of some colonies C small piece of rock colonized by the new species, sponges (green arrow) and small stony corals (Polycyathus cf. senegalensis – red arrow).
Classification: Biota > Animalia (Kingdom) > Cnidaria (Phylum) > Anthozoa (Class) > Octocorallia (Subclass) > Alcyonacea (Order) > Alcyoniina (Suborder) > Alcyoniidae (Family) > Complexum (Genus) > Complexum pusillum (Species)