Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India

Volume 37 Issue 1&2

Distribution of gorgonids in the Northeast coast of India with particular reference to Heterogorgia flabellum (Pallas).

P. A. Thomas, Rani Mary George and S.Lazarus

During the 51st  cruise of FORV ‘Sagar Sampada’ extensive trawling at 6 stations between Lat 16o00´ and 20o00´ N and in depth varying from 37 to 68 metres indicated the presence of gorgonids in 3 stations viz. No. 7, 11 and 23. The total quantity collected from the above stations was approximately 500 kg.

Analysis of samples collected indicate the presence of 12 species of gorgonids in this area and are referable to 9 genera under 4 families. The dominant species was Heterogorgia flabellum (Pallas) followed by Ellisella maculate (Studer) and E. andamanensisn (Simpson). All these three species are now been exploited from the inshore areas also for export; the first one is commercially classified as ‘black-type’ while the others, under ‘monkey-tail type’.

Heterogorgia flabllum is widely distributed in all the above 3 stations, but its concentrations was considerably high in station 23. The maximum number of species (8) was recorded at this station.

An interesting point emerged from the study is that the specimens of H.flabellum were heavily infested with a variety of fouling organisms. Though barnacle was found to be the dominant group numerically, others such as sponges, byrozoans, corals (mainly solitary forms) ascidians and molluscs (mainly Pteria sp.) were also present in good numbers. The presence of foulers on specimens of H. flabellum indicated that this species synthesis no antifouling substance which will repell the settlement of foulers.

It may also be stressed here that the detailed information on the distribution on the above species provided here is not to be used for their indiscriminate exploitations and export, but to be used for exploiting them judiciously for experimental purposes.

Wherever necessary, some species have also been re-described with suitable illustrations.

Date : 30-12-1995