Postcard from the Reef – Protopalythoa?

Hawaiian reefs are well studied, so much so that identification of what I find is often fairly easy. Various resources from popular guide books to professional papers list most of the species one is likely to encounter. There are also several excellent online references that I make regular use of.

There will be situations when identification is not quite so easy… There are critters that are difficult to identify from a simple photograph. Such is the case with this small group of cnidarians I found in a crevice. They caught my eye enough that I took the photo, but proved a bit more difficult when I hit the books. The best I can guess at is the family Protopalythoa, among the zoanthids. I have no need to collect a specimen and find an expert, thus these will most likely remain unidentified…

Protopalythoa sp?
Most likely a member of the zonanthid family Protopalythoa, just a handful of animals in a reef crevice at Puako