Millepora damicornis Linnaeus, 1758, "Oceanus Asiatico." OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Bird's nest coral, lace coral; German: Buschkoralle. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Colonial; the colony is a compact clump, up to several meters across, formed of branches; the surface is dotted with verrucae (wartlike bumps) that intergrade with the branches. Growth form varies with environmental conditions and geographic location. Tissue color is pale brown, greenish, or pink.
Throughout the Indo-Pacific, western and eastern Australia, north to Japan and Hawaii, and east to Central America, Mexico and Ecuador.
Common in all shallow-water habitats, from wharf piles and mangrove swamps to exposed reef fronts; rarely grows deeper than 30 ft (9 m).
Polyp tentacles are usually extended only at night. FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds on minute zooplankton and derives nutrition from zooxanthellae harbored within cells lining the digestive cavity.
Polyps are hermaphroditic. Unlike most corals, eggs are fertilized internally and brooded (although in the eastern Pacific, P. damicornis is a broadcast spawner). Asexual production of larvae also has been reported. Larvae released from polyps can delay settlement for 100 days or longer, and therefore have the potential to travel great distances. Larvae acquire zooxanthellae from parent.
All scleractinian corals are listed in CITES Appendix II. SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Pocilloporids are among the most successful colonizers of coral reefs following disturbance, and are an important framebuilding species. ♦
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