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 Cactus, Elephant Skin, Plate, Lettuce Corals of the Family Agariciidae, pt. 1

To: Part 2

Bob Fenner

Agaricia tenuifolia 

Family Agariciidae, Gray 1847. All utilize endosymbiotic algae, all colonial. Individual coral polyp skeletons have poorly formed walls, prominent/thickened septo-costae, are immersed in their larger skeletal mass, randomly oriented, spaced, often resembling rough, wrinkled skin. Six living genera.

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Genus Agaricia Lamarck 1801. Species are mostly thin vertical plates (sometimes horizontal). Only found in the Atlantic

Agaricia agaricites (Linnaeus 1758). Form complex relatively thick layers of connected bifacial fronds. Upright or encrusting/horizontal. Two Bahamas images, one or "forma danai" in Bonaire.

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Agaricia grahamae, Graham's Sheet Coral. Looks like thin sheets to thick plates, often as piled up shingles on a sloping reef. Polyps appear star-like in valleys. Septa are equal in size (Lamarck's are dissimilar in thickness). Bahamas pix. Second pick, Graham's on left, Lamarck's on right for comparison.

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Agaricia lamarcki Milne Edwards & Haime 1851, Lamarck's Sheet Coral. Colonies are flat one-faced plates arranged in whorls. Dissimilar septa size and wider spacing compared with A. grahamae. Usually brown rust in color with whitish mouths. Belize images.

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Agaricia tenuifolia Dana 1848. Thin upright colonies, joined at angles at their base. Corallites in valleys, arranged concentrically with low ridges. Bahamas images.

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Genus Gardinoseris Scheer and Pillai 1974: Monotypic.

Gardinoseris planulata (Dana 1846). Massive to encrusting. Corallites separated by high walls, columellae present, septa-costae fine, even. Red Sea, East Africa to Hawai'i, Polynesia and tropical east Pacific coast. Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, Polynesia pix. 

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Genus Leptoseris  found in both the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific (rest of genera found in Indo-Pacific only). Colonies either laminar (blade like) or encrusting. Frequently have striations on fronds.

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Leptoseris cucullata (Ellis & Solander 1786). Colonies are irregular flat plat plates that have batches of wave-like ridges facing outward from the center, with distinctive thin lines at the outside edge. Corallites point outward. Found in the tropical West Atlantic. Bahamas images.

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Leptoseris explanata Yabe & Sugiyama 1941. Colonies made up of one-sided blades. Corallites expand as they grow toward end of blades. Red Sea colony and close-up.

Leptoseris gairdneri Horst 1941. Colonies are horizontal (though fronds are upright) and made up of one-sided blades. Corallites aligned on fronds. N. Sulawesi colony and close-up.

Leptoseris hawaiiensis Vaughan 1907. Colonies as encrusting laminae. Corallites raised irregularly, rounded. Septae costae even. Green or brown in color. East Africa, Red Sea to Hawai'i, Tuamotus and tropical East Pacific. Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, Polynesia pic. 

Leptoseris incrustans (Quelch 1886), Swelling Coral. Most common member of the genus in Hawai'i. Identified by swellings of septo-costae between the calyces. Colonies of only a few inches across occur under ledges, generally in deeper water. Tan to reddish-brown to greenish in color. Indo-Pacific. Kona, HI pic. 

Leptoseris scabra Vaughan 1907. Colonies as unifacial laminae. Alternating short and long septo-costae. Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, Polynesia pic. 

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Leptoseris solida (Quelch 1886). Encrusting colonies with corallites distributed randomly, while forming mound-like ridges concentrically. Redang, Malaysia photos.

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