Cushion coral

Cladocora caespitosa

''Cladocora caespitosa'', commonly known as cushion coral, is a stony coral of the subclass Hexacorallia. This species forms the only true coral reef in the Mediterranean Sea.
Cushion Coral (Cladocora caespitosa) The only true coral in the Mediterranean Sea! Cladocora caespitosa,Geotagged,Spain,Summer

Appearance

The polyps are a clear maroon colour, around 5 mm in diameter and form cushion-shaped colonies, in symbiosis with Zooxanthella algae. They produce deposits of calcium carbonate which form the calciate structures in which they live. It is the largest stony coral in the Mediterranean, reaching up to 50 cm in diameter. ''C. caespitosa'' has an average generation length of about 30 years.

Distribution

This species is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, where it is attested already in the Upper Pliocene. It is common on rocky seabeds between a few metres and 60 metres in depth. In the marine lagoon of Veliko Jezero, in the marine reserve of Mljet island, Croatia, there is a small coral reef made up of ''C. caespitosa''. This is the only true coral reef in the Mediterranean.

Status

Endangered

Habitat

This species is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, where it is attested already in the Upper Pliocene. It is common on rocky seabeds between a few metres and 60 metres in depth. In the marine lagoon of Veliko Jezero, in the marine reserve of Mljet island, Croatia, there is a small coral reef made up of ''C. caespitosa''. This is the only true coral reef in the Mediterranean.

Reproduction

The colonies grow through budding, but the species spreads through the settlement of plankton-like larva on seabed suited to colonisation.

Predators

''Cladocora caespitosa'' is classified as endangered under the IUCN red list, mostly based on recent mass die-offs caused by heat wave events in the Mediterranean.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Status: Endangered
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionCnidaria
ClassAnthozoa
OrderScleractinia
FamilyCaryophylliidae
GenusCladocora
SpeciesC. caespitosa
Photographed in
Spain