by Piter Kehoma Boll
Sorry, guys! It has been about three weeks since my last post, but I was too busy with a lot of personal and academic stuff and wasn’t able to dedicate any time to the blog, but I’m back!
Let’s return with a marine animal as today’s Friday Fellow, the called blue coral, Heliopora coerulea.
Found in tropical waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans, the blue coral is a peculiar species, being the only one in the genus Heliopora and in the family Helioporidae. It is the only species in the subclass Octocorallia that has a massive skeleton, a feature more common in the stony corals of the subclass Hexacorallia. As a result, the ecological role of the blue coral is usually closer to that of stony corals that to that of its closer relatives.
The skeleton of the blue coral is composed of aragonite and has a distinctive bluish-gray color caused by the presence of iron salts. There are fossils of bluish corals with the same morphology that date back to the Cretaceous, indicating that this is a very old species.
Although widespread, the blue coral is currently considered a vulnerable species, with some population showing very low genetic diversity. This species is threatened mainly by the jewelry and aquarium trades and by the acidification of the oceans.
– – –
– – –
Babcock, R. (1990) Reproduction and development of the blue coral Heliopora coerulea (Alcyonaria: Coenothecalia). Marine Biology 104: 475–481.
EOL: Encyclopedia of Life. Heliopora coerulea. Available at < http://eol.org/pages/1006937/overview >. Access on May 14, 2018.
Wikipedia. Heliopora coerulea. Available at < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_coral >. Access on May 14, 2018.
Yasuda, N.; Taquet, C.; Nagai, S.; Fortes, M.; Fan, T.-Y.; Phongsuwan, N.; Nadaoka, K. (2014) Genetic structure and cryptic speciation in the threatened reef-building coral Heliopora coerulea along Kuroshio Current. Bulletin of Marine Science 90(1): 233–255. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2012.1105
– – –
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.