Scientists discover long-lived coral in Hawaiian waters - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Scientists discover long-lived coral in Hawaiian waters

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

HONOLULU (AP) - A newly identified species of deep-sea coral that lives only in Hawaiian waters may be the longest-living marine organism.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/1ICVIGd ) that the fan-shaped black coral is formally called Leiopathes annosa and researchers say it can live more than 4,000 years.

Its name comes from the Latin meaning "long-lived."

The species was identified by researchers Daniel Wagner of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Dennis Opresko of the Smithsonian Institution. They say scientists have previously incorrectly grouped the coral with another species or been unsure how to identify it.

Wagner says the coral specimens from Hawaii are distinct from those found elsewhere in the world.

He and Opresko identified the coral using samples collected over a century at depths greater than 1,000 feet.

Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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