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Introduction

The rhizangiids are known from the Lower Cretaceous (about 135 million years ago) to the Recent, and are widespread in the tropical and temperate regions of all oceans. All species live on hard substrates on the continental shelf (0-200 m), but at least one genus (Culicia) is known from as deep as 238 m. All species are azooxanthellate; however, one (Astrangia poculata) contains populations that are also zooxanthellate (Peters et al., 1988). Among the azooxanthellate Scleractinia, the rhizangiids have most successfully occupied the neritic, hard bottom, temperate niche. All Recent rhizangiids are colonial and firmly attached, but because they rarely form large colonies, they do not contribute to shallow or deeper-water reef structure. A total of 33 Recent species is known in four genera (Cairns et al., 1999). This family is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Astrangiidae Verrill, 1869.

 

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