Abstract

Octocorals are characteristic and abundant components of shallow waters, rocky walls, and coral reef. Octocoral species richness of the Costa Rican Pacific has been addressed in several taxonomic publications. However, they have not been studied in terms of ecology, due to the problematic identification, especially in the field and the difficult access to specific localities for this type of research. In 2012 we explored some localities (less than 35 m deep) and evaluated the octocorallian fauna, recording species richness and occurrence. Our objective was to record octocoral species and to facilitate their identification by providing a taxonomic key for future studies We identified 10 species of Pacifigorgia, nine of Leptogorgia and four of Eugorgia. Here we include photographs of sclerites and of preserved and live octocorals. Rev. Biol. Trop. 62 (Suppl. 4): 43-62. Epub 2014 Diciembre 01.

Keywords: biodiversity, identification key, Eastern Pacific, gorgonians, octocorals, taxonomy.