Smooth flower coral

Eusmilia fastigiata

''Eusmilia'' is a genus of stony coral in the family Meandrinidae. It is a monotypic genus: the only species is ''Eusmilia fastigiata'', the smooth flower coral. It is found on reefs in the Caribbean area.
Smooth Flower Coral Sep 11, 2017. Dive site Oil Slick Leap, Bonaire.
Colonies are clumps of tubular corallites, each with one to three centres that are round to oval in shape.
Corallites are widely spaced, and there is no living tissue at the bases between well developed groups.
The primary septa are large and widely spaced, with smooth edges.
Colour is cream with pink or green tints. Tentacles are translucent and are seen during darkness only.
http://coralpedia.bio.warwick.ac.uk/en/corals/eusmilia_fastigiata Caribbean Netherlands,Eusmilia fastigiata,Geotagged,Smooth flower coral,Summer

Appearance

Smooth flower coral is a colonial species that grows to about 50 centimetres across. It forms a low mound of stony calcium carbonate, the surface of which is covered with tubular projections, the corallites, in groups of one to three. The polyps protrude from these and are either round or oval, with the oval form being more common at moderate depths. They are large and widely spaced and are connected by a layer of translucent, jelly-like mesoglea tissue called coenosarc which covers the surface of the carbonate skeleton. During the day they are retracted back into the cup-shaped corallites. These have large smooth-edged ridges called septa, and the polyps have corresponding grooves at their base. At night, the polyps stretch out their translucent white tentacles to feed and the coral "flowers". This coral is usually cream, yellow or pale brown, often with a green or pink tinge.
Smooth flower coral (Eusmilia fastigiata) Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Jul 17, 2017 Eusmilia fastigiata,Geotagged,Mexico,Smooth flower coral,Summer

Distribution

Smooth flower coral is found in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas and southern Florida, at depths down to about 60 metres though it is commonest between 5 and 30 metres . It is found on both the back and the front edges of reefs and is sometimes overhung by larger corals. It is listed as being of least concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as it is common throughout its range and locally abundant in the south Caribbean.

Behavior

The polyps remain retracted in the skeleton during the day but extend at night to feed. The tentacles search for zooplankton and small invertebrates which are transferred to the mouth. Another major source of energy is the result of the symbiotic dinoflagellates which live within the coenenchyme and which produce nutrients by photosynthesis. The coral benefits from the carbohydrates produced and the algae use the coral's nitrogenous waste products.

Habitat

Smooth flower coral is found in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas and southern Florida, at depths down to about 60 metres though it is commonest between 5 and 30 metres . It is found on both the back and the front edges of reefs and is sometimes overhung by larger corals. It is listed as being of least concern by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as it is common throughout its range and locally abundant in the south Caribbean.

Reproduction

Reproduction in corals takes place when gametes are released into the water. The fertilized egg develops into a planula larva which forms part of the zooplankton and drifts with the current. After passing through a number of larval stages this settles on the sea bed and undergoes metamorphosis into a polyp. The base of this secretes the calcium carbonate skeleton and the polyp founds a new colony, producing new polyps by budding.

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Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionCnidaria
ClassAnthozoa
OrderScleractinia
FamilyMeandrinidae
GenusEusmilia
SpeciesE. fastigiata