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Colonies branching in a flabellum or a bush shape (in only one case lamellate). Coenosteum usually reticulate-granular but may be linear-imbricate; coenosteum of many colors and hardness. Gastro- and dactylopores arranged in conventional cyclosystem arrangement, with only one gastrostyle per cyclosystem; pores of the peripheral type; supernumerary dactylopores often present. Cyclosystems arranged on branch edges and/or on corallum faces, or uniformly on all branch surfaces, but not unifacially. Gastropore tube single-chambered, but may be constricted by a ring palisade. Dactylostyles present. Ampullae usually superficial.
The genus and its various grouping are discussed by Cairns (1983b) and a key to all stylasterid genera, including the groups of Stylaster, is provided by Cairns (1992). Currently there are 80 recognized Recent species and 7 fossil species (Appeltans et al. 2011: WoRMS data base: www.marinespecies.org). It is by far the most species-rich and diverse genus of the stylasterids.
- Cairns, S; Lindner, A; 2011: A Revision of the Stylasteridae (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa, Filifera) from Alaska and Adjacent Waters ZooKeys, 158: 1-88. doi
- 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.
- Cairns S (1992) A generic revision of the Stylasteridae (Coelenterata: Hydrozoa). Part 3. Keys to the genera. Bulletin of Marine Science 49(1–2): 538-545.
- 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]
- Milne Edwards H, Haime J (1850) Introduction In: A Monograph of the British Fossil Corals. Part 1. Paleontographical Society, London, i-lxxxv.