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Colonies usually flabellate, with blunt branch tips. Coenosteum reticulate-granular and of many colors. Gastropores aligned along branch edge or, more rarely, meandering in lines on colony faces, the gastropore rows flanked (usually on both sides) by rows of horseshoe-shaped dactylopore spines. Gastro- and dactylopore tubes axial, extending along branch axis. Dactylostyles absent. Gastrostyles elongate (needle-shaped), often stabilized by transverse tabulae; a diffuse ring palisade sometimes present. Ampullae usually superficial and clustered.
Equally diverse in tropical and temperate waters as well as in shallow and deep environments, Distichopora is known from 26 Recent species and two fossil species (see Appeltans et al. 2001: WoRMS data base: www.marinespecies.org). The genus was revised by Boschma (1959) and Cairns (1983b).
Millepora violacea Pallas, 1766, by monotypy.
Eocene to Recent: cosmopolitan except for off Antarctica, 1-806 m.
- Cairns, S; Lindner, A; 2011: A Revision of the Stylasteridae (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa, Filifera) from Alaska and Adjacent Waters ZooKeys, 158: 1-88. doi
- Appeltans W, Bouchet P, Boxshall G, Fauchald K, Gordon D, Hoeksama B, Poore G, van Soest R, Stohr S, Walter T, Costello M (2001) World Register of Marine Species. www.marinespecies.org [Accessed on 2011.09.19]
- Boschma H (1959) Revision of the Indo-Pacific species of the genus Distichopora. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde 29: 121-171.
- Cairns S (1983b) A generic revision of the Stylasterina (Coelenterata: Hydrozoa). Part 1. Description of the genera. Bulletin of Marine Science 33 (2): 427-508.