New species of coral discovered in Peruvian Pacific

A new species of bright red coral has been discovered off the coast of Peru, reports the Smithsonian, psammogorgia hookeri.

Named for Peruvian biologist and naturalist Yuri Hooker, was found of the coast of Peru in the Paracas National Reserve.

According to the Smithsonian, the coral was discovered by a team of researchers from the institution of the same name as well as from the University of Costa Rica.

According to marine biologist Hector M. Guzman, “This new species may be an endemic: found nowhere else in the world.”

And it’s a rather flamboyant creature— bright red and covered in whitish fuzz, the colonies of this soft coral are about the size of a human hand.

However, Guzman adds that “coral reefs and coral communities in Peru have never been systematically studied. We expect more surprises as we look at new collections.”

Fellow investigator Odalisca Breedy says that “As we move across the eastern Pacific, we realize that our knowledge about soft corals still is poor.”

“We need to continue exploring new shallow and deep water sites but funding is always a limiting factor,” the team agrees, according to the Smithsonian.

Yuri Hooker, the Peruvian scientist after whom the coral is named, reports that “With logistical support from the Peruvian National Protected Areas Service

SERNAP, we’re beginning to discover the amazing biodiversity of corals and marine invertebrates in the Peruvian Pacific.

It’s mostly a matter of looking in the right places and inviting experts who can identify these relatively unknown and unstudied creatures.”

By Rachel Chase |