No common name

Goniastrea aspera

ORDER

Scleractinia

FAMILY Faviidae

TAXONOMY

Goniastrea aspera Verrill, 1905, Hong Kong.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Massive boulder-like or encrusting colonies; surface has a honeycomb-like appearance. Individual colonies may merge to form plateaus over 16 ft (5 m) across in intertidal zones. Color is usually pale brown; polyps have cream-colored centers.

DISTRIBUTION

Indo-Pacific; Red Sea, Indian Ocean, tropical and subtropical Pacific east to French Polynesia.

HABITAT

Intertidal to shallow subtidal zones; can withstand pounding surf and several hours of exposure to tropical sun and air.

BEHAVIOR

Nothing is known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Derive nutrition from symbiotic zooxanthellae harbored within cells lining the digestive cavity, and may feed on minute zooplankton.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Hermaphroditic broadcast spawner; may release buoyant sperm and egg bundles, or eggs may be released moments before sperm. In the latter case, some eggs may be retained, with fertilization and development taking place within the polyp. Spawned larvae may settle within five days, but brooded larvae may remain within polyp for 18 days. Asexual reproduction by colony fission possible, but is not common.

CONSERVATION STATUS

All scleractinian corals are listed in CITES Appendix II. Studies have shown that low concentrations of copper or nickel negatively affect reproductive success. A similar effect is seen with relatively small increases in nutrients, as would occur from eutrophication (algae overgrowth associated with excessive amounts of nutrients in the water) resulting from human activity.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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