Newly discovered Hawaiian coral species can live up to 4,000 years!
Recently, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural have discovered a new coral species in Hawaii. The species is a milestone discovery for one remarkable reason. Like with its ground-based alternative, trees, the measurement of age is based on the number of rings in the coral. The new species is the longest living marine creature that is known to science so far based on radiocarbon measurements on the growth rings- four thousand years.
The discovery hit the Hawaiian news yesterday afternoon
The species is known now as the Leiopathes annosa. The Latin name refers to the species’ longevity. The coral is found in the ocean depths of one thousand to one thousand six hundred feet in the Hawaiian Island area, the area of Papahanaumokuakea included.
The various depths of the world’s oceans are still quite unknown to us
This sentiment is shared by all who study these underground terrains, most especially when they continue to find new specimens unknown to science to log into the books. It also shows how much we have yet to understand about the environments in which we find these new species as well.
According to the news story, the new coral species was incorrectly identified as one that exists in the Mediterranean Sea, but upon further inspection the consensus was that it was unique. Researchers after the initial impressions were done with could see that this new coral species was different in its morphology in the comparisons of Hawaiian and Mediterranean specimens.
Want more info about the new coral species?
For more in-depth detail about the specimen, you can read it here in the ZOOTAXA article.
The specimens of the new coral species were collected by the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab for study then given to the National Musuem of Natural History in D.C and to the Bishop Musuem in Honolulu for further studies whenever feasible. Time will tell what further information can be revealed from this new coral species and also the underwater environment that houses the species.