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Related FAQs:  TWA Invertebrates, Fishes of the Tropical West Atlantic, Tropical West Atlantic 2

Related Articles: Algae, Vascular Plants, Introduction to Fishwatcher's Guide Series Pieces/Sections, Lachnolaimus maxiumus/Hogfish, Hogfishes of the Genus Bodianus

Invertebrates, Algae and Vascular Plants of The Tropical West Atlantic: Bahamas to Brazil, Part 7

To: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15,


Bob Fenner

    More Stony Corals

Family Pocilloporidae: This family, erected (made up) by Gray in 1842, is second only to the Acroporids in importance as contributors to reef formation. Pocilloporids reproduce sexually year round by way of planulae larvae, asexually by fragmentation. Most forms are finger-like (digitate) to branching (ramose). The family was made up of five genera until recently (Madracis and Paulaustrea are now part of the family Astrocoeniidae according to Veron, 2000). 

Genus Madracis Edwards & Haine 1849, Finger, Pencil, Cactus Corals. the only genus of the family found in the Atlantic (also in the Pacific). This genus placed by Veron (2000) in the new family Astrocoeniidae. 

Madracis dedactis (Lyman 1859), Ten-Ray Star Coral. Tropical West and East Atlantic. Colonies to six inches in height. Typically with ten septa per corallite. Cozumel pic by Di.F.

Madracis formosa Wells 1973, Finger or Cactus Coral. Colonies made up of densely packed small thumb-like branches with blunt ends. Appear fuzzy when open. Dull to Green with yellow central corallite color. Bahamas photo and close-up. 

Family Faviidae Gregory 1900. The second largest family of stony/true corals (after the Acroporids of course). More than twenty genera (24)... Most are roundish to hemispherical and "brain like" in appearance, though there are some notable exception. All bear zooxanthellae and are colonial. 

Genus Colpophyllia Milne Edwards and Haime 1848. One species.

Colpophyllia natans (Houttuyn 1772), Symmetrical Brain Coral. Large roundish to hemispherical  colonies or encrusting. Long snake-like valleys. Septa short, equal and pointing out. A fine ambulacral groove runs along the top between corallite walls. The world's largest Brain Coral on the right off of Flying Reef, Tobago; below, a view of it edge-wise and a colorful shot and close-up of  smaller specimens in the Bahamas.

Genus Diploria Milne Edwards and Haime 1848. Massive, meandroid colonies. Columellae (centers of corallites) are interlinked with ridges. All tropical West Atlantic.

Diploria clivosa   
Diploria labyrinthiformis (Linnaeus 1758). Typically hemispherical in appearance. Often with some valleys being parallel, spaced about 5-8 mm. apart. Below, a boulder being shared with a Montastrea in Belize and two Bahamas images.
Diploria strigosa (Dana 1848). Massive or encrusting. Valleys spaced 6-9 mm. apart. Surface is smooth. Tobago images. 

Genus Favia Oken 1815. One of the most widely distributed (though not that common) genera of stony corals. Most corallites circular, uniform in appearance. Plocoid (corallites that are conical with their own walls). Genus and family named for Greek: "Honeycomb" (favus) which the regular size, arrangement of corallites approaches. 

Favia fagrum (Esper 1797). Small colonies that may be encrusting or hemispherical. Corallites of variable shape, with one to many mouths. Bahamas and aquarium images. 

Genus Manicina Ehrenberg 1834. Rose Corals. One species, tropical West Atlantic. Free-living or attached. Note groove on top of valley walls. 

Manicina areolata Linnaeus 1758.  Though its range is restricted to the Tropical West Atlantic it continues to be mis-sold as Trachyphyllia geoffroyi Audouin 1826, the Rose Coral by some dealers. Below, two four inch specimens in less than a foot of water in a seagrass bed  in Placencia, Belize, the second with tentacles extended. The last a hemispherical "adult" specimen of about a foot diameter in the Bahamas. Close-up at right. 

Genus Montastrea Blainville 1830. Massive, flat or dome-shaped colonies. Monocentric and plocoid corallites. 

Montastrea annularis (Ellis and Solander 1786),  Lobed Star Coral. Tropical West Atlantic. To ten feet tall. Common. Found as clusters of columns with domed tops. Living polyps on upper areas of colonies, dead, eroded below. Corallites appear as uniform in size, shape. Conical to flush with colony surface. Longer and short septa alternate, small, compact columellae. Cozumel pix by Di.F below.
Montastrea cavernosa Great or Large Star Coral. Colonies as boulder shaped domes. Distinctive blister/cone-like corallites of larger than other TWA species (about 9mm in diameter). At right, a massive colony in Bonaire. First row below: Some pix taken in St. Lucia showing color and shape differences. The latter at night while this colony was feeding. Last, a close-up by Di.F in Cozumel. Second row below, some pix from Bonaire, the last at night.

Montastrea faveolata Mountainous Star Coral. In mounds or large sheets, with bumpy appearance, with corallites more or less arranged in vertical rows. Belize image. 

To: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15,

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