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Green star polyps

Pachyclavularia violacea

Description: Green star polyps have small, yellow or green tentacles that are attached to a purplish- red mat. Eight smooth, thin tentacles per polyp surround a star-shaped opening (mouth) that is often an attractive contrasting color.

Size: These soft corals may reach a colony size of one foot (0.3 m) with polyps less than 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in diameter.

Behavior: The polyps are generally open during the day and close at night or when disturbed.

Diet: These tiny filter feeders can absorb organic matter from the water column, and like other corals, the polyps of this species also house zooxanthellae, photosynthetic algae cells which provide the coral with nutrients.

Reproduction: Non-spawning species form planulae and brood their larvae as they develop at the surface of the colony. Daughter polyps may also form at the edge of the mat.

Habitat/range: This soft coral is found in shallow to moderate depths along upper reef edges of the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

Status: Not listed on the IUCN Red List.