South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands release stamps featuring cold water corals

A beautiful set of four stamps featuring cold water corals has just been released (9th November 2009) by the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands.

South Georgia Stamps

Three unidentified octocoral species of the Thouarella and Paragorgia genera are represented in the 55p, 65p and £1.10 stamps, while the 90p stamp features a lace coral, a type of hydroid with a hard skeleton.

In the deep water around Antarctica, families of octocorals tend to have polyps covered in plates of calcium carbonate and it is the structure and shape of these plates that define different species. The difficult task of telling different species apart explains why the corals represented in this stamp set are without species names. Many new species of corals have been described from Antarctica in recent years and there are many more to come.

The full press release from the Government of South Georgia is available here (pdf).

 

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