Hank McComas


RE: Rhodoliths

My understanding is that Rhodoliths (maerl) are coralline conglomerations of algae - a combination of soft algae and hard limestone. But these little creatures were soft with the consistency of a silicon shoe lift. The surface was not irregular and bumpy like other rhodoliths I have seen pictures of on the internet but smooth with some having regular dimples like pores over the surface. The entire creature was soft and bendable to a small deviation. (20 degrees) Their surface was slimy.smooth on some an not on others. They were found in the intertidal zone in great number and variation in size and color as noted. Because they had no hard structure I am not sure that they would qualify as Rhodoliths. I could find no examples that looked like these. There seems to be a large variation in shapes and types of Rhodoliths so perhaps these could be classified as Rhodoliths but they seemed more the consistency of sea slugs than corals.

From Wikipedia

Coralline algae are red algae in the Family Corallinaceae of the order Corallinales characterized by a thallus that is hard as a result of calcareous deposits contained within the cell walls. Unattached specimens (maerl, rhodoliths) may form relatively smooth compact balls to warty or fruticose thalli. Many are typically encrusting and rock-like, found in tropical marine waters all over the world. They play an important role in the ecology of coral reefs. Colors are most typically pink or some other shade of red, but may be purple, yellow, blue or gray-green. Sea urchins, parrot fish, limpets (molluscs) and chitons molluscs feed on coralline algae.