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Xenia sp.
Written by Tim Wijgerde   


Xenia sp. (Lamarck, 1816)

Kingdom: Animalia 

Phylum: Cnidaria 

Class: Anthozoa

Subclass: Octocorallia

Order: Alcyonacea                

Family: Xeniidae 

Genus: Xenia 

Species: umbellata

Xenia sp., possibly X. umbellata. This genus is ahermatypic and zooxanthellate, and is found throughout the Indo-Pacific. These corals remain enigmatic to aquarists due to contrasting aquaculture results. Species from this genus seem to have rudimentary oral pores, which are fully closed. This may be an explanation for the pulsating phenomenon of Xenia polyps. By pulsating, especially when not exposed to strong water currents, the polyps decrease their surface boundary layer (SBL). This enhances gas exchange, nutrient uptake and waste removal. Xenia sp. seem to thrive in slightly eutrophic aquaria which receive ample feeding. This may be due to significant uptake of DOC, such as amino acids.


Tim Wijgerde


Rinkevich, B., pers. comm.