Hydrozoa, or hydroids, are a class of marine animals related to corals, sea jellies and sea anemones. Usually hydroids form colonies made up of individual polyps. Some of these polyps are specialised for different roles, including feeding, reproduction and defence and are usually all male or all female. Some colonies are free floating, like Blue Bottles or Portuguese Man O'War, while others build stationary structures. This hydroid has formed quite a large, fan-like, stationary colony.
This species, Stylaster flabelliformis, is known from the Indian Ocean and southeast Asia. This specimen came from Mauritius.
Stylaster flabelliformis is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to ensure that international trade does not threaten them with extinction.
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