Divers who dive on the Calafuria reef in Livorno will have often asked themselves this question and in this article we are not talking about the red coral (Corallium rubrum) which, as you can see, represents a rare exception to be safeguarded and protected.
I Parazoanthus axinellae gialli e arancioni: due specie diverse?
We are talking about the case of the Parazoanthus axinellae in Calafuria’s reef near Livorno, the very common Yellow cluster anemone omnipresent in the coral bottoms of the whole Mediterranean Sea, all of us divers appreciate its presence and the yellow color that enlivens and makes the seabed and walls rich in coral, sponges unique. , gorgonians and other marine species that color and make our photographs and videos unique.
In fact, in Calafuria two different types of Parazoanthus axinellae live and thrive, the classic small yellow polyp with a short trunk that solitary forms colonies of hundreds of individuals, and an orange polyp with a trunk and longer tentacles that aggregates in ramifications of different individuals for create solitary formations that seems prefer rocks compared to the more common “yellow” Parazoanthus lives mainly on sponges of the genus Axinella.
The question that arises is: are they two different species?
Another peculiarity that comforts us in the question but above all in the answer is that the Orange Parazoanthus lives only in the areas close to Calafuria and that moving a few miles for example, in the area of the “Secche di Vada” and “Secca della Meloria” there seems to be only the classic Parazoanthus yellow. In fact, we often immerse ourselves in these depths and after some research on the net we realized that we are not the only ones and the first to ask ourselves this question:
The study was published in Scientific Reports with the title “Evidence of genetic isolation between two Mediterranean morphotypes of Parazoanthus axinellae“. It was created by a group of scholars from the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Bologna consisting of Adriana Villamor, Lorenzo F. Signorini, Federica Costantini, Marko Terzin and Marco Abbiati.
Read the article but it seems that the DNA of the two species are actually different so we are probably facing a new species but for this we refer to the study of marine biologists and researchers, we limit ourselves to reporting the case and publishing some photos and a video of these wonderful YELLOW and ORANGE Parazoanthus axinellae living in the beautiful Calafuria reef near Livorno.