Gersemia rubiformis

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Gersemia rubiformis
Sea strawberry, Gersemia rubiformis, a soft coral in Newfoundland, Canada (21391129845).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Alcyonacea
Family: Nephtheidae
Genus: Gersemia
Species: G. rubiformis
Binomial name
Gersemia rubiformis
(Ehrenberg, 1834) [1]
  • Capnella rubiformis (Ehrenberg, 1834)
  • Eunephthya rubiformis (Ehrenberg, 1834)
  • Lobularia rubiformis Eherenberg, 1834

Gersemia rubiformis, commonly known as the sea strawberry, is a species of soft coral in the family Nephtheidae.[1] It is found in the northwest Atlantic and the northeast Pacific Oceans.


Gersemia rubiformis is a colonial coral that grows in the form of knobbly clumps. The colonies are erect and branch from one main stalk. The polyps are concentrated near the ends of the narrower terminal branches and are non-retractile in their calyces. The branches are not rigid but are stiffened by the presence of sclerites, and can sway gently in the current. The sclerites are red, some being irregular and shaped like miniature capstans. Gersemia rubiformis does not contain the symbiotic alga zooxanthella.[2]


Gersemia rubiformis is found in polar to temperate regions of the Arctic Ocean and the north west Atlantic Ocean from the coasts of Canada south to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.[1] A separate population is found in the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of British Columbia and south to California.[3] It occurs on both sandy and muddy substrates, on rocks and on the hard parts of other benthic invertebrates such as shells.[1]


Many other marine invertebrates share the habitat of Gersemia rubiformis. Juvenile basket stars (Gorgonocephalus eucnemis) are often found clinging to the coral and hiding in the interstices. The white sea anemone Metridium senile often grows nearby and the rock scallop (Crassadoma gigantea) shares the same habitat in California.[4]

In Puget Sound, juvenile basket stars (Gorgonocephalus eucnemis) have been found to be living, growing and feeding inside the pharynges of Gersemia rubiformis polyps, only becoming free-living when they have grown large enough to catch food for themselves.[5]


Researchers in British Columbia found that extracts of Gersemia rubiformis showed antimicrobial activity when tested in vitro. They identified three novel diterpenoids which they named gersemolide, rubifolide and epilophodione.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e van der Land, Jacob (2010). "Gersemia rubiformis (Ehrenberg, 1834)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  2. ^ Williams, Gary C., L. Lundsten (2009). "The nephtheid soft coral genus Gersemia Marenzeller, 1878, with the description of a new species from the north east Pacific and a review of two additional species (Octocorallia: Alcyonacea)". Zoologische Mededelingen. 83. 
  3. ^ a b Williams, David; Raymond J. Andersen; Gregory D. Van Duyne; Jon Clardy (1987). "Cembrane and pseudopterane diterpenes from the soft coral Gersemia rubiformis". Journal of Organic Chemistry. 52 (3): 332–335. doi:10.1021/jo00379a002. 
  4. ^ Sea strawberry, Gersemia rubiformis Cold Water Images. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  5. ^ Gorgonocephalus eucnemis Muller and Troschel, 1842 Walla Walla University. Retrieved 2012-01-25.