Meandrina meandrites

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Meandrina meandrites
Meandrina meandrites (Maze Coral).jpg
Small clump of maze coral
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Subclass: Hexacorallia
Order: Scleractinia
Family: Meandrinidae
Genus: Meandrina
Species: M. meandrites
Binomial name
Meandrina meandrites
(Linnaeus, 1758) [2]
Synonyms[2]
  • Goreaugyra memoralis Wells, 1973

Meandrina meandrites, commonly known as maze coral, is a species of colonial stony coral in the family Meandrinidae. It is found primarily on outer coral reef slopes in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Description[edit]

Meandrina meandrites forms massive hemispherical heads or develops into substantial flat plates and can grow to nearly 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) in diameter. Some small colonies are cone-shaped and are not attached to the substrate. These resemble young colonies of rose coral (Manicina areolata) and may be found in sandy or muddy areas some way from reefs. The corallites, the calcareous cups secreted by the polyps, are 1 to 2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 in) wide. The raised walls between the corallites are formed from fine but widely separated transverse ridges called septa and meander over the surface of the coral. There is a slight indentation running along the crest of the walls where the septa from adjoining corallites meet. The polyps are large but are only protruded at night when they cover and obscure the skeleton of the coral.[3][4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Meandrina meandrites is found in Bermuda, Florida, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas. It mainly occurs on the seaward sides of reefs but does also occur on back slopes. Its favoured depth range is 8 to 30 metres (26 to 98 ft) but it occurs at any depth less than 80 metres (260 ft). It tolerates locations with high levels of sedimentation and turbidity. It is generally a common species and is the coral most frequently seen in the deeper parts of its range.[1][4]

Status[edit]

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists Meandrina meandrites as being of "Least Concern". This is because, although it is effected by coral bleaching, it is more resistant than some other species and usually recovers. It is also subject to coral diseases such as white plague and black band disease. Another factor that helps to maintain populations is the high level of recruitment of juvenile corals [1] which is in contrast to the recruitment failures of the pineapple coral (Dichocoenia stokesi).[5] The chief threats it faces, as do other reef corals, are raised sea temperatures, ocean acidification and reef destruction. It is present in a number of marine parks which gives it some level of protection.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Aronson, R.; Bruckner, A.; Moore, J.; Precht, B.; Weil, E. (2008). "Meandrina meandrites". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  2. ^ a b van der Land, Jacob (2012). "Meandrina meandrites (Linnaeus, 1758)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  3. ^ "Maze coral (Meandrina meandrites)". Interactive Guide to Caribbean Diving. Marine Species Identification Portal. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  4. ^ a b Colin, Patrick L. (1978). Marine Invertebrates and Plants of the Living Reef. T.F.H. Publications. p. 263–266. ISBN 0-86622-875-6. 
  5. ^ Richardson, Laurie L.; Voss, Joshua D. (2005). "Changes in a coral population on reefs of the northern Florida Keys following a coral disease epizootic" (PDF). Marine Ecology Progress Series. 297: 147–156. doi:10.3354/meps297147.