Intertidal alcyonarians in the vicinity of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
The octocorals, mostly soft alcyonaceans which were collected by Miss Elizabeth C. Pope on the shore reefs near Darwin, northern Australia, during her ecological survey made between 1965 and 1967, are treated systematically in this paper. In all, seventeen known species are listed here. Of the alcyonaceans, two species belong to Lobophytum, four to Sarcophyton, and one to Sinularia; these are all the members of Alcyoniidae and are well-known main reef-builders widespread on the lndo-West Pacific coral reefs. Of the remaining Nephtheidae, six species of Stereonephthya, one species of Dendronephthya and one species of Nephthea were obtained and observed rather commonly in the intertidal zone near Darwin; some of these nephtheid octocorals are easily observed here to form colourful zonation around the reef at low tide. Although the amount of material available for the study of the local fauna was limited, now it became clear that there was much confusion concerning the nomenclature of common tropical Australian alcyonarians in earlier decades, mainly due to the lack of free currency of literature concerned and the paucity of actual exploration in the field.