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GENERICGUIDETOSELECTEDCORALSOFMALDIVESByHusseinZahirandIbrahimNaeem

Ministry
Marine

of Fisheries
Research
Section

and Agriculture
~--"
II
II
Marine Research Section
(Q1996
,... Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture
Ghaazee Building
Male', 20-06
Republic of Maldives.
Tel:322509,322328
Fax: 322509,326558

ISBN
9991
Thisworkiscopyright.Apartfromanyfairdealingforthepurposeofstudy,researchor
criticism, no part of this book may be reproduced by any process without prior written
permission. In all cases the source of copied material should be cited.
GenericGuidetoSelectedCoralsofMaldives.
PrintedinMaldivesbyNoveltyPrinters&Publishers.D-90/96/DPE
AndersonprovidedtheintroductorysectionontheformationoftheMaldives.MissSianDamschkeassistedinmaterialisingtheEnglishtext.DraftsofsectionsofthisbookwerereviewedbyDr.CharlesAnderson,AhmedHafizandAbdullaNaseer.IbrahimNadheehwordprocessedtheDhivehiscript.WewouldalsoliketoextendoursincerethankstoIsmailHaleemandAdamManikuwhorenderedtremendoussupportincompilingthisbook.ManythankstoallstaffofMRSfortheirmoralsupport.
support and encouragement.

ACKN0WLEDGEMENTSWethanktheHon.HassanSobir(MinisterofFisheriesandAgriculture),Mr.MaizanHassanManiku(DirectorGeneral)andMr.AhmedHafiz(DeputyDirector)fortheir
works. Abdullah Naseer provided the introductory section on coral mining. Dr. Charles
Mohamed Faiz took all the photographs and did the layout
.
CONTENTS

Acknowledgement

Table of contents 11

Contents

Page
Introduction 1

Coral Mining in Maldives 3

7
FormationoftheMaldives
10
CoralStructutreandBiology
16
FamilyPocilloporidae
Pocillopora
16

Family Acroporidae
18
Montipora 18
Acropora 20

Family Poritidae
24
Porites 24
Goniopora
28

Family Siderastreidae 30
Psammocora 30

Family Agariciidae 32
Pavona 32
Leptoseris 35
Gardineroseris 38
Pachyseris 39

Family Fungiidae 41
Fungia 41
Herpolitha 45
Polyphyllia 47
Halomitra 49

11
50
Family Oculinidae
50
Galaxea

52
Family Pectiniidae 52
Oxypora 54
Mycedium
55
Echinophyllia
57
Pectinia

58
58
FamilyMussidae
Lobophyllia
60
Symphyllia

62
Family Merulinidae 62
Hydnophora 64
Merulina

66
Family Faviidae 66
Favia
70
Favites
73
Goniastrea
75
Platygyra
77
Leptoria 78
Oulophyllia 80
Montastrea
81
Plesiastrea
82
Diploastrea 84
Leptastrea 85
Cyphastrea 87
Echinopora
89
Family Caryophylliidae 89
Physogyra
91
Appendix
96
Glossary
98
Selected Bibliography
99
Dhivehi Section

111
warming,arealsolikelytohaveanegativeimpactonMaldiviancoralsandcorp.!reefs. organisms.Theseinturnsupportvaluablefisheriesandareofprimeimportanceasattractionsforthetourismindustry.WithoutcoralstherewouldbenoMaldives.However,coralsandcoralreefsareunderincreasingpressureintheMaldivesfromnumeroussourcesincludingcoralmining,
effortshavebeenmadetounderstandthedynamicsofcoralreefecosystems.Inparticular,attemptshavebeenmadetoidentifythemajorthreatstocoralreefs,andmuchworkhasbeendoneontheeffectsofcoralmining.OneconstraintfacedbyMRSstaffinthisworkhasbeenthedifficultyinidentifyingcorals.1 Agassiz(I903).The"Xarifa"expeditionof1957-58ledbyHansHasswasthefirstdivingexpeditiontotheMaldives.AmajorcollectionofcoralswasmadeanddepositedattheHessianStateMuseum,Germany.PublicationsoncoralsincludeScheer(1972,1974&1978)andPillaiandScheer(1976).TheCambridgeUniversityexpeditionof1964ledbyDavidStoddartalsomadesignificantcontributionstotheunderstandingof affected.Islandcommunities,andthetwomajorindustries,fisheriesandtourism,wouldsuffer.It.isthereforeimperativethateffortsaremadefromanearlystageto Maldivianpopulation,thegrowingnumberoftouristarrivals,andthegrowing everyislandinthecountry.Theyalsoformanaturallineofseadefenceforthese TheMaldivesisacountrybuiltbycorals.Itismadeupexclusivelyofcoralatollsand
Maldivesastourists(CiarapicaandPasseri,1993;Morri,BianchiandAliani,1995)andthoseundertheauspicesoftheMarineResearchSection(MRS).MRSwasformed
Without
dredging

affluence
associated

up to 1994
is
and

provided
healthy
localized

within the then Ministry


in
of both groups.
coral structures.

MRS
(1995).
Events
pollution.

coral reefs, islands

of Fisheries
Coral
beyond
These

possible. This requires a sound understanding

reef
INTRODUCTION

in turn

research
will be eroded
the control

Davies (1966) and Davies, Stoddart and Sigee (1971).


Coral reefs are the foundation

has
in 1984, and a summary
of coral taxonomy.

been
are a reflection

understand the processes affecting coral reefs, and to take mitigating

given
of the Maldives,
and source

Maldivian reefs and stony corals. Publications include Stoddart (I966),


and reef fish resources

priority
of the

notably
of material

and
of the work undertaken
action wherever
adversely
growing

global

Charles Darwin (I842), and also by John Stanley Gardiner (1903, 1906) and Alexander
Early studies of the reefs and corals of the Maldives were made by the famous naturalist
islands. Coral reefs provide a habitat and refuge for reef fish and other reef associated
for

Recent studies on corals include those undertaken by foreign scientists visiting the
Wells and
beencollectedandidentified.Clark(1995)reviewedtheserecentcollectionsofcorals.ShesuggestedthatthetotalnumberofhermatypiccoralsrecordedfromtheMaldivesto PillaiandScheer(1976)providedamajorreviewofMaldivianstonycorals.Theydescribed147speciesfromtheircollections,andcitedliteraturerecordsofafurther94
suggestedthatthetotalnumberofvalidspeciesknownfromtheMaldiveswas166.WithinMRSacoralcollectionprogrammewasinitiatedwiththeobjectiveof
knowledgeofcoralsandcoralreefsintheMaldivesbyprovidingavailablelocalnames Theobjectivesofthisbookaretwofold:firsttoprovidedescriptionsandguidanceforidentificationofcommoncoralgenerasofarcollectedandrecordedattheMarine
publishamorecomprehensiveguidetocoralsofMaldivesinthefuture.ItisourhopethatthisfirstpublicationonMaldiviancoralswillhelpthereadertoappreciatethe
species,

establishing

date is about
making

a national

of corals, and information


cnidarians have been poorly studied.
a total of 241 species.

a coral reference

2
Sheppard

collection.

on their biology and utilization.


(1987)

Over
150 corals
synonymized

variety and abundance of corals and to increase our knowledge of coral reefs.
specimens

Research Section in the Maldives. Secondly, the book also seeks to further the readers'
have
this list, and

The Marine Research Section continues to collect and identify corals and hopes to
200 species, representing over 60 genera (Appendix 1). Non-scIeractinian
NorthMaleAtollwillbeexhaustedwithinamaximumof20years. alsotheonlysourceofaggregateandsand.NotsuprisinglythereforecoralsareamajorsourceofbuildingmaterialsintheMaldives.Coralminingisamajorsourceofrevenueformanypeople,butitisalsothemajorcauseofdamagetocoralreefs.Thedemandforcoralhasincreasedatanenormousrateduringthelasttwodecades.Recentstudiessuggestthatcoralminingisnolongerasustainableactivity.Inthe1980s,thedemandforcoralaggregatefortheconstructionindustryinMaleAtollwas
itisthoughtthatcurrentdemandisprobablyatthelimitofsupply.Furthermore,with
currentminingpractices.Biologicalsurveysofminedsitesindicatethatthecoraland
theenvironmentalstandardsrelatedtocoralmining.TheGovernmentofMaldivesisconcernedwithenvironmentalimplicationsofcoralminingandisdeterminedtocontrolminingwithlegislation.Analternativesourceofbuildingmaterialneedtobeidentified Coralminingclearlyhaslonglastingimpactsonthereefenvironment.Thesuccessful
usedformoreimportantconstructions,suchastombstones,wellsandmosques.Inmost CoralmininghasalonghistoryintheMaldives.Thepredominantsourcesofbuilding
moremoneytotheislandcommunities.Asaresult,constructionofcoralhousesbecameapriorityforpeopleinmanyislands.Inaddition,publicbuildingssuchasschools,3
material
estimated

Historical
management

Development
(uva) by burning.
in earlier
Within the Maldives

development
at 0.5 million
CORALMININGINMALDIVES
of the fishing
cubic

of coral

days were coconut


intensively mined over 20 years ago.

of coral mining activities


feet/year.

in order that coral mining be completely

mining

and tourism
palms
requires

banned.
Although
corals are the only indigenous

industries
and other
no recent

local timbers.
estimates
source of building

a strong legal foundation,

Coral

since the early 1970's


have
been
made,

which defines
fish diversity and abundance have been dramatically reduced. Sea defence capabilities

has brought
rock was only
stone. They are

cases large massive coral heads (Porites) were collected for such works. Apart from
their use as building bricks, corals and coral aggregate were also used to make lime
In addition to the difficulties of maintaining a steady supply of building materials in the

of reefs are also reduced by mining. In addition, little recovery is seen at sites
face of dwindling coral stocks, there are many other problems associated with the
current methods of mining it is thought that the supply of coral building materials in
offices and mosques were considered important components in island development and
their construction rate increased. In consequence, the quantity of coral being mined
increased, and coral mining became more widespread throughout the archipelago.

However, the greatest development of coral mining activities has been in the central
Maldives.WiththeintroductionoftourismandwithincreaseddevelopmentinMale,theconstructionindustrygrewatatremendousrateanddemandforconstructionmaterialsincreasedexponentially.Easilyaccessiblereefsweresoonexhausted,andothersuitablereefshavebecomeincreasinglyscarceandthegovernmenthadimposedtentative
regulations for coral mining activities in the country.

Uses of Corals
CoralsareminedintheMaldivesmainlyfortheconstructionofhousesandother
I
buildings.ThemaintypesofcoralsminedaremassivevarietiessuchasPoritidsand
Faviids. Large corals are broken up manually into smaller pieces and used to build
walls. Groynes, solid jetties, breakwaters and sea walls are also constructed from
massivecorals,althoughinthesecasestheyarenotbrokenupintosmallerpieces.Coralsarealsousedintheconstructionofcausewaysinsomepartsofthecountry.
Another major use of corals is in the making of lime or uva. For many local
communitiesitischeapertoproducelimelocallythantobuyimportedcement.
Naturally occurring coral aggregate (akiri) is burned in a pit in the ground using locally
availablefirewood.Thecoralrock(calciumcarbonate)isconvertedtolime(calcium
oxide) by the heat.

Coral Mining Areas


Untilquiterecently,coralswereusuallyminedfromthereefflatsofislandhousereefs.Inmanyislandsthereefisclosetotheisland,socollectionisveryeasy.However,in
many cases this led to erosion of island beaches. Current regulations do not allow coral
mining from island house reefs. Professional coral miners tend to choose accessible
shallow ring reefs ifaros) to mine corals; mining tends to be carried out on the inner
rims. In atolls with few ring reefs mining activity is concentrated on the lagoon side of
outeratollrimreefs.
Methods of Coral Mining
Coralminingmethodsaremanualandlabourintensive.Havingchosenasuitablereef,theminerstraveltothesitebyboat.Coralsarebrokenupwithironbarstomanageablesizes.Somemassivecoralsmaybesmallenoughtobeminedwithoutbreaking.The4
demandofcoralsforharbourwallconstructions.Coralminingformsanimportantsourceofincomeforatleastsomeislandcommunities.TheGovernmentisawareofthefinanciallossofincometotheseminersthatmayariseasaresultofitsattemptstoseekalternativesforcoralmining,butatthesametimeisdeeplyconcernedaboutthecurrentlevelofcoralmining. constructioncompaniesinMale,touristresortislands,andinmanyotheratollscountry- Coralminingisnotcarriedoutonalarge-scalecommercialbasisthroughoutthecountry.Inmostatollsminingiscarriedoutonaminorscale.LargescalecommercialminingisnormallyonlycarriedoutbyminersfromAriAtoll.Inthisatolltwoislands,
reefs.Thisinturnhasledtoincreasedreefdamage.ThebiologicalandphysicalimpactsofcoralminingonreefsinMaleAtollhavebeenrelativelywellstudied.Livecoralcoveronreefssubjecttocoralminingisverylowcomparedtounminedreefs(BrownandDunne,1988).Abundanceofreeffishissignificantlyloweronminedreefscomparedtonon-minedreefs(BrownetaI.,1990;ShepherdetaI.,1992).Inaddition,littlerecoveryisseenatsomeminedsitesovera20 Populationgrowth,combinedwithincreasedwealthfromtourismandthefishery
islandsexposedtoincreasedwaveaction,swellsandstormsurgesandconsequentlybeacherosion.Thesedimentdynamicsofcoralislandsmaybealsoalteredasaresultofalteredflowregimes.5--.. dissipatingmostoftheenergyintheincomingwavesbeforetheyreachthebeachline. reefsofislandsaresubjecttominingactivitiestheremaybeadverseeffects.Island Physicalimpactofcoralminingdependsonthetypeofreefsinquestion.Noimmediate
industries,

year period.
Environmental
wide. Recent harbour

has created
Impacts

effect may be observed


Fenfushi and Maamingilli,

a steadily
improvement

of Current
Coral

increasing

with coral mining

Mining corals from the reef flats effectively


projects

Mining

demand

at an isolated
Activities

for building

remove this physical


materials

ring reef. However


in many atolls had led to an increase

from
are famous for coral mining. Miners work under contract
to the island, where the coral lumps are left to be dried and cleaned by the sun and rain.

coral

if house
Coral mining is believed to be the most serious threat to reefs in the Maldives.

barrier and leaves the


in the
for

house reefs act as physical barriers, protecting the coral islands against wave action, by
corals are lifted by hand on to the boat. When enough has been collected it is transported
RegulationsregardingcoralminingTheGovernmentofMaldivesisconcernedabouttheenvironmentalimplicationsof
coral mining. In 1992 preliminary regulations were introduced to control mining
activities. The following controls are now in effect in the country.

1. Mining cannot to be carried out on island house reefs.


2. Mining cannot be carried out on atoll rim reefs or common bait fishing reefs.
3.Permissionisrequiredfromtheatollofficetominecoral.Eachapplicantmustapplythroughtheislandofficetotheatolloffice.Theislandofficeisrequiredtoestimate
the quantity of corals needed for the job in hand, and hence should ensure that only
the required amount is granted.
4. Every island is required to keep a log book of the amount of corals mined.
5. The export of corals is banned.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture is the responsible authority for the
formulationofregulationsregardingcoralmining.TheMinistryhasbeenlformulating
comprehensive coral mining regulations, and more stringent controls are expected in
1997.Underthenewregulationscoralminingwillberestrictedtospecificareasand
monitored very closely.

6
TheMaldivesisalinearatollchainstretchingnorth-southfromapproximately7Nto0.5Salong73EinthecentralIndianOcean.TheMaldivianatollsformthecentralandlargestpartoftheChagos-LaccadivesRidge.ThisRidgeispartofastilllarger
Reunionin2loS(Morgan,1981;DuncanandHargreaves,1990).TheMaldives
TheChagos-LaccadivesRidgeliesonanoceanplatethatwasformedduringthelast100millionyearsorso,asIndiadriftedawayfromAfricaandtravellednorthtocrashintotherestofAsia.Asitdidsoitpassedoverastationaryhotspotunderlyingtheposition basementoverlainwithapproximately2000mofshallow-watercarbonate(Purdy,1981;
drawnoutinalongline,fromtheDeccanTrapsinthenorth,throughtheLaccadives,MaldivesandChagos,toMauritiusandReunioninthesouth.Thustheatollsofthe
reachedtoatleasttheseasurfaceinmanyplaces,whereitsmarginswouldhavebeencolonizedbycorals.Asthevolcanicridgesubsidedtherewouldhavebeenaclassic
ThecrestoftheMaldiviancarbonateridgemusthavebeenexposedandsubjecttosubaerial(i.e.rainandwind)erosionduringperiodsoflowsealevel,notablyduringice-ages.Themostrecentsealevelminimumwasreachedattheglacialmaximum,
thedepthtowhichsealeveldroppedisoftentakenas120m.AtthattimetheMaldivianatollsmusthavestoodoutfromtheseaasgiantsteepsided,plateau-toppedislands.Thesurfacesoftheseplateauswouldhavebeenworndownbyerosion.Asaresult,whensea
ofthereefsmayhavebeenatabout15-30mbelowthecurrentsealevel.7
Ancient

feature

Duncan
themselves
that
history

of the now much


stretches

comprise
FORMATIONOFTHEMALDIVES
Darwinian progression

More recent history


and Hargreaves,

of present day Reunion.

reduced
an

resulted in the accumulation


from

early

volcanic
the late

perhaps 20,000 years ago. Although


to

1990; Purdy

This resulted

ridge.
Cretaceous

mid-Tertiary

and Bertram,
early

in the volcanic

level rose again the atolls would have been completely


of over 2000m of carbonates
(50-60

1993,

there are considerable


Maldives are oldest in the north and youngest in the south.
Tertiary

million

outpourings

submerged.
from fringing to barrier to atoll reefs. Continued
years

see also Glennie,


old)

I
1936).

of the hotspot

subsidence
volcanic

regional and other variations,

The eroded surfaces


being

has
of shallow water origin on top
In the region of the Laccadives, Maldives and Chagos the volcanic ridge must have
(66~68 million years old)
Deccan Traps of India (centred at about 200N) to the volcanically active island of
....---

with.andepthofabout250-400m,knownlocallyastheAlihurasKandu.Howthisunusualfeaturewasformedisnotknown,butthemostconvincingscenariotodateisprovidedbyPurdyandBertram(1993).Theysuggestthattheoriginalextrusionofhotspotbasaltwasunusuallybroad(inaneast-westsense)inthisarea.Associatedwiththisextrusionwasamodestamountofcrustalstretching,indicatedinseismicrecordsbya Attheendofthelastglaciationthesearoserapidly,reachingsomethingnearitspresentlevelabout6,000yearsago.Reefgrowthwasslower,andthereefsdidnot'catch-up'
CharlesDarwinwasthefirsttospeculateontheoriginoffaros.HenotedthattheywerecommoninthenorthandcentralMaldiveswheretherearemanygapsintheouteratollrims,butrareinthesouthwhereatollrimsaremorecontinuous.Hesuggestedthatthe8 Therearetwomaintypesofexplanationfortheformationoffaros:thoserelatingtheir betowardsthecentreoftheinnersea.Todatethishasresultedintheformationofthedoublerowofatolls.Eventually(i.e.inseveralmillionyearstime)itmayresultinthecoalescingoftheatollstoformasinglemassivecoralplatform. thethickestcentralportionwouldhavecontractedmorethantheedges,resultingintheformationofa'sagbasin'bythemid-Oligocene,about30millionyearsago.This Maldivianislandscannotbemuchmorethanabout3,000yearsold,eventhoughtheMaldivianatollchainhasbeenine)(istenceforsome50-60millionyears.TheMaldivianatollsshowtwopeculiarfeaturesthatarenoteasilyexplainedwithinthe
Ring
reefs

foundations.
Double atoll chain

fault and subsidence


with sea level until about 3,000 years ago (Woodroffe,

system in the centre of the extrusion.


1993). Therefore

Maldives. The other is the presence of numerous ring-shaped reefs orJaras.

Later as the basalts


the present

cooled,

known asJaras. Although common in the Maldives, faros are relatively rare elsewhere.
conventional Darwinian framework. One is the double line of atolls in the central

In the centre of the Maldives the atolls form a double chain, separated py an 'inner sea'

Maldivian atolls, particularly the northern and central ones, contain ring shaped reefs

structure to the nature of their growth, and those relating them to the nature of their
simple picture is complicated by periodic changes in sea level that have occurred in the
past. Nevertheless, coral reef growth on either side of this basin since then has tended to
reefswillgrowoutwardsintwodirections,inring-likeshapes.ThescarcityoffarosinsouthernMaldivesisexplainedbythemorecompleteatollrimsandlesserstrengthof atolls,thereforeallowingcoralsinsidetheatollstoHourish.Thisconceptwaslaterdevelopedtotakeaccountoftheseasonallyalternatingmonsoons.Asthesebring
hypothesisappearstoworkwellforatollrimfaros(PurdyandBertram,1993)b\.ltisless Analternativehypothesisisthatfarosarering-shapedbecausetheyhavegrownfromring-shapedfoundations.DuringthelasticeagewhenthetopsoftheMaldivianatollswereexposed,thelimestonewouldhavebeensubjecttoerosion.Limestoneerodedbyrainwatertendstobecomesculptedintosaucer-likeshapes,eachwitharaisedrim
numerous

the monsoons
channels

there compared

convincing for atoll lagoon faros.

9
in the north and centre allowed

to the north and centre.


more 'fresh'

around a central depression. When sea level rose again after the ice age, these saucer-
shaped foundations would have tended to support the growth of ring-shaped reefs. This
ocean water into the

currents and waves, onto alternating sides of the reefs it is reasonable to suppose that the

I
,

r
.-
~~-CORALSTRUCTUREANDBIOLOGY
chemicalsuponcontact.Thesecellshelptocaptureplanktonicpreyandactasa anemone,andisknownasthepolyp.Thepolypmouthissurroundedbysofttentacleswhichcanberetractedorextendedforfeedingortootherstimulus.Somespecieshave
knownaszooxanthellaelivesymbioticallywithinthepolyptissues.Theseunicellularalgaeusesunlighttomakeorganiccarbonthroughphotosynthesis.Thisexplainswhymostluxuriouscoralgrowthsarefoundinwelllitshallowareas.Indeedthedepthstowhichreefbuildingcoralscangrowislimited.Hermatypiccorals(thosewhichpossesszooxanthellaeintheirtissues)areprovidedwithsomeoftheorganiccarbonproducedbythezooxanthellae.Asaresultdepositionofthecalciumcarbonateskeletonoccursat
releaseofspermsandeggsintothewater).Inallcasestheendresultofsexualreproductionisthedevelopmentofsmallmobileplanulalarvae.Theselarvaeareameansoflongdistancedispersal.Additionallymostcoralspeciesalsoengageinasexualreproduction.Asexualreproductiontakesintheformofbudding.Daughterpolypsmayarisefromthedividingofanexistingpolyp(intratentacularbudding)orfromthesideofanexistingpolyp(extratentacularbudding).Itisinthiswaythatcoralcoloniesare Allcoralsdevoteasubstantialpartoftheirenergytosexualreproduction.Thismaybe
The

formed.
Coral
to the

defensive
tentacles
Polyp

via either
Zooxanthellae

Reproduction
phylum

which
is a general

internal
mechanism
term
Cnidaria.
used

fertilisation
have special
The

Corals do not get all their nutrients


in competition

corals (those without zooxanthellae).


living

stinging
to describe

(swimming
part

10
for space
a variety
of the

mobile
cells called

from the plankton


coral

with other

sperm),
of related

species
is very

nematocysts,
forms

or external
simple,

which

of corals.
of animals

that they catch. Microscopic

fertilisation
release
resembling
belonging

a much faster rate in corals that have zooxanthellae in their tissue than in ahermatypic

(the
toxic

algae
an
Tentacle
~::>'"
.P-'.r

Polyp

.r
.p
A
I
S-
IJ
S
'
Jf
J"
'
::> "'~
L.rS.?

CoralIite
'"
'" Jf>

S'"
Jf>.r
.p
A
IS
-Jf>
A
S
'Jf>
JP
"'
.....

., .'::, ::,l\\
,,'
:: '\ "\::,":""'"
,','

Coenosteum

'" '" 0::>::> '" '" If.::> '"


AIJP.r.r./.r AJf>'" Jf> S~S Costae
..... 0::> '" If. ::>elf. If. '"

.:.

Palifonn lobe Septa


If.::> '" 0::> '" If.If.If. If. If. If. '" If.elf. If. If. If. '"
S -' Jf>A S '" Jf>
.:. .:.
;';';J, ;:.,;.:. ,;.;:.::,; A:;.;JI
.....

'.,

s~s
, :.,

A.J"
S"'J
AL.r
Columella
",:>If. If. "'::> If. If. '" .. ,
, ,
"". Jf> S ... A A S ..;.? S'" Jf>
.:.
::>"':>If.",o::> "'If.-.. '.' ,'v-O:,?::"""',
t..rS.rA .r.r./A/..;'/ ':',~.;'
" "
t, "">','::',',:',':",," '

.,

Basic features of polyp and skeleton of coral


0';.;If.'"~"'~If.::>'"
'".:......"i'.J.,:1I11
polyps.Inintratentacularbuddingthecorallitedividesfromthemiddle.Inextratentacularbuddinganewcoralliteappearsfromtheoutsideoftheparentcorallite. featureswithregardtoidentification. dividethecoralliteradiallyinto6ormoredivisions.Theskeletonbetweenthecorallitesareknownascoenosteum.Whentheseptapassoverthecoenosteumtheyarereferredtoascostae.Insomecasesthedistinctionbetweenseptaandcostaeisindistinctandtheyaretermedsepto-costae.Verticaltooth-likestructuresknownaspaliformlobesmaybeformedattheinnerendofsomesepta.Anaxialstructureknownascolumellaisusuallydevelopedatthecentreofeachcorallite.Thismaybeofdifferentshapes.Theentirecoralskeletonisknownasthecorallum.Specificarrangementsand Theskeletalpartssecretedbyanindividualpolypiscalledthecorallite.Thepolypsits
exposedtopoundingwavestendtobesolidandrobustlystructured.Furtherdowntheslopewherethewaveactionislesscoralcoloniesbecomelargeanddelicateandthestructuremaybereducedtothinplates.Suchvariationingrowthformneedstobetaken Considerablegrowthformvariationmayoccurwithinonespeciesdependingonwhere Coralsthatformcoloniesdosobyasexualreproductionintheformofbudding.Ifthecorallitesofacolonyhavetheirownwallstheyarecalledplocoidorphaceloidanddependsonthelengthofthecorallite.Ifthecoloniessharecommonwallstheyarecalledcerioidormeandroiddependingwhethertheyformvalleysornot.Themostcommontypesofgrowthformsaremassive(similarinallsides),columnar
(forming
Structure

into account
characteristics
The corallite

identification,
The method

Class?fication
when
columns),

it grows. These variations


of the septa,

identifying
and Classification

encrusting
of budding used
with the skeletal
costae,

coral
of Corals

(adhering

species.
columella,

arrangement

12
to the
corallites

finger like), foliaceous (leaf-like) and laminar (plate like).


substrate),
and corallum

branching
I

by the polyps is also often an important

(tree
reflecting the budding patterns

like
are all important

polyp are all important features in identification of corals. Corallum shapes and growth
can be easily seen on a reef slope. Corals on the upper slope
of the
in the cup like corallite. Within the corallite are series of vertical radiating septa, which

or

The appearance of living coral under water, its growth form, shape and colour of its
aid to

For
Cora
Grow
formsvarymarkedly.Whiletheshapeofthecorallummaybedeterminedbydepth,waveactionandavailabilityoflight,thepatternofcolonyformationandthegrowthformofthecoloniesareimportantinthetaxonomicclassificationandtheidentificationcorals.Identificationofcoralstogenericlevelisrelativelyeasy.Theyaregrouped
according to general skeletal and tissue features. Generic groups are quite distinct.
However where there is doubt in identifYing a genera coral specialists rely entirely on
the details of skeletal structure.

Solitary
"" eet: ""
""",.to .;'"",-",v'p
.....
~~..~..
Cerioid
""~0""""""t:""
Plocoid ./>,r A,.tO,.tO,?"A ,r,.,...,.to

-f-~~~~ 0"" "" .:;


,r".;"'.;'
A,.tO,.,...,.tO
.....

Phaceloid
oX~0""""
Meandroid
,.,...v,r.;'
A,.tO,.,...,.tO
.....

""e~ oeoex~ 0"" ""

./.P.;' -",""'A,r",r.;' A,.tO""",.tO


.....

Structural diversity of corals


o""oX~"" "" eee 0"" "" e~""
A,.tO,.tO,r *.,r A.? .;""" A,.tO,.,...,.tO ,r?,r
.....

13
.r
"P
-'"
t!
A
J.r
s"A
t.r
.?
O
-JlP 070'-0'-
Intratentacular
2 ':':'-':07':
....
.-

.r
C>
The
two
main
type
of
asex
rep
in
co ,;/
Extratentacular

.: 0':0'-'-707<:':
At!AJO~V .r~tlP
070'-0'-
':0':0'-
SAt!AJO

2
OX~.-.:.-0.-.-.:7.-
JOs"P.rs "PAtlP AJO-"'JO S~S
"""" ....

14
'-0,,", ""'
-""-J'lJ'~J'
..,

0""0
7~""
"..
eA "4:
~
.J'I
~
J.;
...
J'
. 'I .-
~77'-
.?' -'" '" ... -""".11
.-

Growth fonus of corals


5---
1
,rAV~.7-"'.7~A,r,,?'AAOCIoponae"~..!,,?""""..!VAV~.7~"'"P-",,r~~~</:"/O/
</://"e</:</:/~~
.rA
Membersofthisgroupareusuallyramoseoraborescent,butmaybesubmassiveorencrusting.Thebranchesareusuallyquitethickwithroundedtips.Theyareeasilyidentifiedbythesmallroundedgrowthsonthesurfaceofthecorallumcalledverrucae,thatonlyoccurinPocillopora.Thecorallitesaresmallandcrowded(lessthan1millimeterindiameter).Theseptaarenotwelldeveloped.Columellamaybepresentasalowbluntspine.Polypsareusuallyextendedatnight.Colonycolourvariesthrough
shallowreefhabitatstoexposedreeffront.Alargeproportionofakiriorcoralaggregateismadeupfromthesebranchingcorals. Therearearoundseventotenspeciesinthisgenus.SixareknowntooccurintheMaldivesandtwospeciesareillustratedhere(Fig.1a,b). occurintheMaldives,andarerareelsewhereintheworld.Thecommonspeciesofthisfamilymaybefoundinmostreefenvironments.Howevertheyaremorecommononexposedupperreefslopesandreefflats.Growthformsandmorphologyvarywith
Unlikemostcorals,membersofthisgroupareknowntobroodtheirplanulalarvae
o/~
//:11</:~/oxx/:11:11</::11~~</:</:</:/0/6</:</:/eeo~</:</:
A""r.7
shades
Characters

Remarks

~~",~
~""""""....</:x~0</://</:</:/:11:11//:I1:110~</::11/</:0:>:>0</:</:/ee</:</:O/:I1/</:</:
exposure

V.7~~
O</:"/~ee</:/"/:11/</::11/:110///</::11/0</:/~o</:</:</::>:>0
Pocillopora
Pocillopora

/":11/0:11/
of green,

-"'-"'~
'A"""..!"',r~,r
pink
Stylopora, Palauastrea
ramose or arborescent.

is a common

~,,?'~A
Lamarck,

(P

~ '
or yellow,

,r ll
1816

'A,r.7.r~A
- :11:110</:0</:/0:11
-"'~AV"'-"'A
~""""~16._-
but
O
"~'A
Family

ct)
and Madracis.
Members of the Family Pocilloporidae

brown

,r~
,r "
to waves, current and light availability.

p/

~,
"
.r
v 'A,r"?',r,r",,,P-.7
/:11/</::11/~
Pocilloporidae

Palauastrea

""pV~"'A"p
is probably

x"
year. Such display of parental care is rare among corals

r
A
7
~
"
P
v (
genus on most reefs in the Maldives,

,
the most

,
la b

///,,~//,,~~

-"'.r~

""PA~~A~.r~
~""""
e
pX
r
.r </:</:</::11/</:
~
)
common.

~ ~
There are five extant genera: Pocillopora,

""~~
A ,
,r
..
v o
A,r~A~
~....
"",;11""
and occurs from

,,"".. r </:o/xox
"""'"P""..""..,r""..oS
-"'A~'"
...
/
~~
,."

,
Seriatopora,
are colonial corals that can be submassive,

~
and Madracis are not known to

after internal fertilization of the gametes. Brooding occurs at particular times of the

"""P
VA
""..
"",P A
,,?
-'"
P.7
.""",~ ""-
"
.r
A"
,...
.r"
,
v
o
~
,,\~...~\,'l~~~\X\~"~,~\~\0\,~'\~~\'\~\~~~,:~\~\",.,~II.,.~0\...,'"
\ ",\ \\ ,

~\~,0\~~o~~\x~~~\'\
1
0

.D
~~-"~.."\~O.\\~..o~~~'I\~~.o~~\~~,~"n."\~~\0,~I.,~\o~~'\0,~~'\)0,"\~~o~~\'I.,:~"\,~'\0\~~\"~\~~,~~~0,~\",~
\

o~~\~~~~~\'\,~x~'\,~,~\~
1

\~~,~'\~~~\\'\~~~~"\~~"\x~0
\

.......
t'--

\
~\,,~~~,~\,~~,~~,~~~o~\,,'~~~,\'\,~'\"\0\~\"\,,~x~~~~\o~R\~~~\~~~"~~~'\,~~\,~~
'~~\'~.~~~~~\~
\

"\~\~\~\~,~\~\,~~~~~'\\'\~\~\~~:~~~~
,,1 ~\~},~ 01

.......

C1:I

~\'\~~'~~\~~n~~o~~~\"'~~~,~\\\
\ \
\'~~\~
"

,~o~o~~\~I.,'\~~~~,~0,~\x~"\~\~~o~~\,,~\~~\"\~\:~\o~0,o~~~~\~~'~,,~~"'~~,\\,~~
\
~,~~,\x~~,~~
Family Acroporidae
MembersoftheFamilyAcroporidaearecolonialcoralsthatareusuallybranched.Thesebranchesmaydifferinshapeandsizeconsiderably.Therearefourextantgenera:
Montipora; Anacropora; Acropora and Astreopora. This book only illustrates members
of Montipora and Acropora.

Acroporids are important reef building corals. They can persist in all reef environments,
buttendtodominateintheshallowareasandthereeffront.Speciesofthisfamilyareamongstthemostcolourfulonthereefandthemostnumerousinbothspeciesand
abundance.

Montipora Blainville, 1830


Whiletherearearound200nominalspeciesinthisgenus,thenumbersoftruespecies
are unknown. Twelve species are known to occur in the Maldives and one is illustrated
here (Fig. 2).

Characters
Membersofthisgroupmaybesubmassive,foliaceous,ramoseorencrusting.Theypossessverysmallcorallites(lessthanlmmindiameter)andmaysometimesbe
confused with the genus Porites. Montipora appears to be lacking in any skeletal
structures within the corallites. Septa are usually short and project inwards making them
difficulttoseewiththenakedeye.Theskeletonjoiningthecorallitestogether
(coenosteum) largely differs between species and is used in identification. Quite often
there are ornamentations and depending on their size they are referred to as papillae or
tuberculae(smallorlargerespectively).Thereisawidevariationincolour.Livingcoloniesmaybebrown,yellow,greenorpurple.Polypsaresmall,withminutewhitetentaclesthatmaybeextendedduringthedaybutusuallyatnight.
Remarks
Montiporaisacommongenusoccurringinmostreefhabitats,andappeartobe
widespread throughout the Maldives. These corals are not exploited by coral miners,
probablyduetotheirloselyporousstructureandgrowthforms.
""~~I.t!!.,I..,"".JII"""~
PX
(2 )
""

.
d ae )
0.:'"~0.:.:.:~~o.:(A
"xxo':"~~'"'"7
"'.,I,-J'.,I ;A "n "",.,A .","'.,1-'" J J cropon "-"'.,I-"""A ~AA "'-"'.7 A.7
...~~...
0"""':':': ",':co~ 0 .:.: ':7"'0'" "'""'0"": CC': "'7"'7'" ':7"'70"""'" ':7",
./'.7"';"'" AJ<!A-'" ",., A-"'.,tO J-'" .,tOA'" ",.,to,-J' A.,tOA ;"'" AJ"'.,tO".,I J'" .,to;A""'-"',-J' J""""" -
...

18 c--

c-

1
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J'~J'J' AJ'AJOJ',,?AA A,,? ,,?,.,..A ""'"P""""~~

""P"'"JOA"P,,;ee~~...
.... ':;"" ,:;
ee ee~ 0 CO""" ... oec ~~...
eoX~...ceee
0""...~...oe~
........

,.,AJO~JO
,:; ........

eeee o~c"e o...Xox ~"'X"'07 ...Xo o...


~..xoeeoe~e~...o'"
.r"P J"J' AA ,,?,.,..A J' J""" JOA"P"? ""PA,.,..,,? ,.,.. ";"",,;"" """ J"" J' 'A",J"J' ,.,..,., A~>A ""'?I!!!A-
.... ....
~....eee~~...e...e~~...X
~~...~...~0c......"'"A~_>AAA""'~"P,,?,.,..
cc~
""pA""'"PA~ A~"P""',,;"? J',.,..A J'~J"""JOA"p,,? ""pA AA"'" ....
.... .... ........ ........
e~...ceee~~e~~
eec~
'"~~coX~o"'o
0'"~c~...
""PA""'.... "",?~-~-
... .... ....

0"'0Xe~",cccc"'~7~'"oC...
"'..ex~o~o...~...~e~...~
ASAJ"J',,?AA AJO""'J"'? J'~J' JO"P"'" AJO..!~..! J'~J' ""pA,.,.."?"" ~"',,;"'" ,,;A I!!!~A"P
... .; ,:;.;....
...oex~o~...",...7~cee",ce...o~...cco...ce
..e"'oe"'~'"eoe...o...~~
.... ,:;.; ,:;.;
e7...0...~~0~" o...~"
ceceo..."'...~0C"'oc~~~C"O~ccc..."C
':;"" .; ;
eee... ~oe ...e ...~~o~" ...~~c"'~ 0 c"'... CC770C...
""P""'?'" "p""'J' """A ..."?",,,...,.,..,.,..- AJ"'?"p ,,;"pA "P,,?"'" ""P""""" A~J'
,:; ,:; .;

e7... ... ",ceo oc... ... 0'" '" e ...


-----A';'
c 0 Q e '" o
7"
cc
.?AA SJ' ... A,,? JO"'" A"P"""" &"",..."", AJ'A"'" A,,?,.,.. ""'p .",... ", J' J' JO"p -,,?
.... .... .... .; .... .;
ce ... '" Co'" "...... c"
-----
0 ' 0'" '"

""pA"'" "PA"P ,,;""""" .",... ...""",? ""'JO ,.,.. -----"P ", A


,:; .; .; .... .; .... ....

19
Acropora Oken, 1815
There are around 350 nominal species of Acropora, the number of true species being
approximately 150. This is the largest genus of all extant scleractinia. It is an important
groupbeingthemostabundantonmostMaldivianreefs.Around50speciesareknown
to occur in the Maldives, of which seven are illustrated here (Fig. 3a-g). Recognition of
thegenusiseasy.Howeveridentificationofspecies.ismadedifficultbythelargenumberofcolonies,withhugearrayofshapesandcoloursthatmaybepresentonanygivenreef.Thecommonnamesformanyofthesespeciesare'elkhorn'or'staghorn'
corals due to the resemblance.

Characters
Acroporacoloniesdisplaymanygrowthforms,themainonesbeing:aborescent;tabulateorplate-like;corymbose;digitateandcaespitose.Coralitesareoftwotypes,
axial and radial. Almost all species of Acropora possess axial corallites that are usually
at the tip of each branch or branchlet. Septa are poorly developed. There is no
columella. Coralite wall and the coenosteum are porous. Acropora are amongst the
most brightly coloured corals on the reef. They are often creamy, yellow, blue, green,
purple,redorbrownishincolourwithdifferentcolouredbranchtips.Polypsareusually
extended only at night.

Remarks
Acroporaareabletodominateinallreefhabitats,andareparticularlycommonon
upper reef slopes and reef flats. The light porous skeleton and the branched growth
allow them overgrow and overtake neighbouring colonies. These colonies tend to re-
establish themselves readily from damage. Arborescent and plate-like colonies tend to
flourish in sheltered areas, while digitate and corymbose colonies are able to persist in
more exposed environments.
Branchingmembersofthisgenusarecommonlyexploitedformakinguvaastheirporousskeletalstructureturnstolimequickly.Alargeproportionofakiriismadeup
from broken pieces of Acropora and other branching coral fragments and is collected as
coral aggregate for building and construction purposes.

(3
~X
""~
a - g t!!!..,1 ) ~",,~
"",,::>""~~~::>"""""
c~~~"~c~""""::>~C::>~"x::>"~,,~
/"/"/"..-A..,1;..-J J~JOA"p.? "P.,!~J /".?-"'~.? .1'A-"'" """'.?AA /""-"p; A.?
~....
~....~~~~""~C,,~::>"""'"
"PA;"- AJCJA~
....
~JOA"p
/50 ;;; .J.;;*:;;~ JA;;';"] ;';';;;..,1;.... J~;::';;;;
::> "~~,, "" "c"""" ~~~~"c""""~c"'""~ "'::>""cc """::>"""""::>~"" c ",,",,:1
or'" .,!~JA.? """""P.?/" "p/"/"A.?"'..-""""..,1"'.? "'.?JOJ/"; AJO~JOA"PJO..,1JO JA"'~.?
....
~....20
~
""..
.~ ~
.,;A
.,

.~ " t
J"
t!!.7.?
~
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JA
.
!!"
-
A
'",,~
.
~
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A
I
J"JJ"
1'
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t..7
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J~
J
'-"
"
'
"~"~~"""~,,~
J""" '- ........
""'?7J" ""~.?'pA 'J' J"AJ"A

...,~.,...,~X.,~~~~~~~~~~.,...,.,.,..:1:1..
'J";.7'" AJ'~ J" J'.? 'pAJ" ;.1'.7""- """"J"..!~ J'

~....~.,~"..~..~..~~.,~.,.,~~~~~AA~~J'A~.PJ"J".?J"~'pA~;"""'~.?'pAJ".?""
~~~~~.,.,...,.,~
~.,
.PA.,;A.7;- "A.7'" ....
"'~.?;-
....

A~ AJ
J"
J"
J~

1 t)e
II
~~~~..".,~(C
"x~~...~~~...~
....,...~
'pA;"" ""'~J"A'p; ora t!!A.7~'" J".PJ" "J"J"J"A AJ"lt.J"J'.? J'.7J' J"J""" AJ'A"'~.?
........ ....

J"
-,<
J~A
J~
.7
J'
"A
JJ"
"'"
J"
~tA
'I~'!!
<I~",,~~X~~~
,r"'~.P.PIt.- ;~A "'~.? .P"'~ J"A'p ;"" J"J".?~A A "'~ J"A'p ;""J".J"" J""J"~J' AA
.... ....

~
"7X~~'" x
~""~~~~..~...~~
~~......~......~
J'A"'~.?
.,
'pA;J".?P~J"A
....
.1'.7 ; AJ'.J""J""J"~J'
....

~.......~~~~...~...
<I ~~~7"'~
~
~~~~......
~...~c~~...X
,rA-"'J"J""J"J' "'A"'~.? 'pAJ" .1""".7- 'A~'pA.7 ~A.7-.J'A A(!A~ J'A 1t.J'J"A
., .... .... ....

.1
A
.It.
-"~
t.?
t!
1'
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'It
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~~~~"~..~"~..~X
:1:1 :1:1
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~~,~..~"""'77~'"
.P"'J".7"'.?AA A.? .7""'.?;A

'J"';~~~7...x~
.... ....
~....~...~~~...~
<I~~ ~~... 7"'~~7""""7 "'7X~7...X

~x~..~
""-"A J"~J" A A .7 '" J' .7 J' J" J" J" "" AJ'AJ"J' .?AA
.... ........
~..~...~
~~""'~"'7
'pAJ'AA.7'"

~"'7"""7 C~"'7'" ~... ...7...


~~~,,~~~~..x7..~..~...7...7...
.P"'J".P- ;"""""?AA ~'pAJ""J".7.P ;A AAJ"'~~A J""J"~~ AAJ'JO.?~~ A.?
.... ....

~~.......~~...rC7...7...
... ... ... ... 7 7
"7X~...""'~X7"~...~C..~
AJ'J"J' J'~"'A AJ'AJ"J'.?AA AJ'~A~ """ J" "'~.? J" J"""
....
~...~X~.,
"~....<I~"<I...~.....x"~..7...77
~C5-"C~7..7"..C7~...7
AJ'J"J' J'~"'A .1"".1" AA~"'J"J"- ~.P".?'p;'pA
.... ~....
"77"7"~~7CC
~~~~...7X~~7
.1""7 AA 'p.7A 'pAJ"'pJ" J' AJ".J"" J"A
"""'pA"~'p J".?PJ".7AJ' "AA "'A"'~.?~;
........ J' A "'~.?
~....~"""~~~~~"""7..C"/..~~..~~~~...
~"C..~...C7X...
"'-"'-"A AJ"J".P- J'A"'~.? 'pA"'~.? ~.P"'.I" AA;J"J"p"'.7"" """'pA .?J"A J"A-.P J'.7-"'"
....
~
I 0
~~~7X.....~
.......~
~....

3a

21
22
.

I
.
II
.

I
23

II
ofthelargestofallcoralcolonies,somemeasuring8metersindiameter!
Coloniescanbemassive,branching,columnarorplate-like.LikeMontiporathe Therearearound120nominalspeciesofPorites.Seventruespeciesareknowntooccur
intheconstructionindustry.Thecoralrockisbrokenintoregularshapedbricksforuseinbuilding.TombstonecurvingsarealsomadefromlargecoloniesofPorites.Themassiveformsarecommontoreefflats,upperreefslopes,andmaydominateinsomeareas.Poritescommonlyformwhatareknownas'micro-atolls'.Sedimentsdeposition ramoseorencrusting.Therearefourextantgenera:Porites,Goniopora,AlveoporaandStylaraea.Stylaraeah~sonlyonerelativelyrarespeciesanditisnotknowntooccurin
...
.:.:.:.;70~0';';.;7.;7.;':"0"7.:.:.::,,'o.:~~
.;7.;7.;.:.:.:.;"07.;~~".:~.;0.;.;~7,"".:':0':';0';
':70"':"'
A.r"'"."~
Characters

Remarks

invertebrate
corallites
Members

The massive
the Maldives.

30
in the Maldives.
"'7~707,"".:.:.:.:o"'o"'~.:"'.:.:.:':7"'~"':':0,""':'"""0"".P"e~A.r"..7.1'~"."..r.7'pA"..7"'"A".".'p-.r""'"A.r""..r"'"..r;"""""""'-.7",.11......~.........24I".,~n~
'pA'p"",;
.P"'~.r .7AA "".1'
The

organisms
species
of Porites

...
Porites Link, 1807
three
of the Family

""""'~";
(e.g.

A.r"'"."~
of Porites
pink colonies are not uncommon.
common

Six are illustrated


Poritidae

fanworms
are very small,

.raA"
1

(Hirigaa)

"",-A.7'"
-2mmindiameter.Thesurfaceofthecoralissmoothorgranular.Poriteshaveveryspecificseptalarrangementswhichservetodistinguishbetweenspecies.Generallythesearetoosmalltobeseenwiththenakedeye,makinginsituidentificationdifficult.Thereareusuallytwelveseptawithprominentpaliformlobes.Mostcoloniesarebrownincolour,butcream,green,blueor
Family

genera

and
here (Fig.

'p"",,".r
which are commonly extended during the day.
are colonial

clams).

".7"'.1"'-
Poritidae

4a-f).

...
.r~AA
are extensively
corals

(P

';""""""
are morphologically

Members

Polyps are usually extended

..
mined

"

.rA"".A.P
at night.
distinct.

on t 1d ae ) "e"'"
~~...~...
7
(4a-f
of this genus

,"""
7~.;

".~".
that can be massive,

in the Maldives
Porites

A.7
~')
form

...
"'"O~

A.ra"'""
usually

some
laminar,

for use

-"",
appears massive and has small corallites, Goniopora and Alveopora have large polyps

""'"'"
live coral. Large boulders provide refuge for fish and vantage points for growth of
and exposure, kills large area in the middle of the colony, leaving only the perimeter of
-"
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J
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(Septa) :,;..ft,'; A~

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JO./JOJ,..-.r,?J~J"P""'.?~.ry"p.r.r.r..-A./'JOAAJ~J'..-
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7
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4a

25
4b26
4e

4f

27
Ii
.J
Goniopora Blainville, 1830
Thereare39nominalspecies,butthenumbersoftruespeciesareunknown.SevenspeciesofthisgenusareknowntooccurinMaldives.Twoareillustrated(Fig.Sa,b).
Characters
MostGonjoporacoloniesaremassiveorcolumnar,butmayalsobeencrusting.ThepolypsofGonioporaarelong,fleshyandarearmedwith24tentacleswhicharegenerallyextendedduringtheday.Theshapesandthecoloursofthepolypsareusedin
identification of the species underwater. Calices of these corals are much larger than
Porites ( 3
-Smmindiameter)andareroundedorhexagonalinshape.Thecolourof
the polyp and the corallum may be brown, gray, blue or green.

Remarks
GonioporaisacommongenerainmostreefhabitatsintheMaldives.Itcanbefound
in shallow water areas along the reef front and reef slope. Goniopora anti other massive
corals with similar skeletal characters are collectively termed as onuhiri in Maldives.
Goniopora is not commonly found amongst coral boulders that are mined for
construction purposes.

..1"'-
.P-"
JO
.r-'
"'"
1'-"0
JO
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28
29

.
Family Siderastreidae

Members of the Family Siderastreidae are colonial corals. Colonies may be columnar,
foliaceous or encrusting. There are six extant genera: Pseudosiderastrea, Siderastrea,
Anol1lastrea,Horastrea,Psal11l11ocoraandCoscinarae.OnlyPsal11l11ocoraand
Coscinarae are known to occur in the Maldives.

PSal1l1110COra Dana, 1846


Thereareapproximately27nominalspeciesofPsal11l11ocora.Sixspeciesareknownto
occur in the Maldives. Three are illustrated here (Fig. 6a-c).

Character '
,
Thisgenusshowsagreatvarietyofgrowthforms:branching,encrusting,foliaceous,
massive or columnar. The calices are tiny and closely packed, falling between the few
millimetershighcollines.Coralitewallsareindistinct.Septaarenumerousand
converge toward the centre of the calice in a flower-type arrangement. Polyps may be
seenextendedduringtheday.Coloniesareusuallybrownorgreenincolour.
,r.7'?
JOA
A
J' "PA
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Remarks

-'"
JO
A".7
,r-
.7
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..
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p -
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JO
A
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p.?.JA7
P.ml1ll11ocoracanbefoundinwiderangeofreefhabitatsandisespeciallycommononthereefflatandupperreefslope.Massiveandencrustinggrowthformsofthisgenusmaybeexploitedbycoralminers.p?~(6a-Ce').1""..1~
"'pA
J-A
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30
0/

-"'A.I"'--
/

./
.r.,7.r
.: / .:

VA.7J".r'
.: /

./A..I.I"""
./
.:

v
.,
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.: .,.: /
A.7.r'V.I'
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.,n
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.:.:
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".,7.r
.:."".
/ .:

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/

,, .,

r""'..1.r""--.I'././././
.
6a31
Leptoseris;Gardineroseris;Coeloseris;PachyserisfromIndo-PacificregionandAgaraciafromWest-Indies.Fourofthesegeneraareillustratedhere.Themembersofthisfamilyaremostabundantinreefareasprotectedfromwaveaction,
MembersoftheFamilyAgariciidaearecolonialcoralswhichcanbemassive,laminarorfoliaceous.ManyspeciesofthisFamilyareknowntooccurintheMaldivesbutare
------~ Pavonacanbedividedintotwomaingroups:theleafyandnon-leafyforms.Thelatterareusuallymassiveorencrusting,whiletheformerhavevariableshapedfrondsandbifacialplates.Corallitesareroundorpolygonalinshape,slightlydepressedwithvery PavonaLamarck,1801Inthepast,manyspeciesofPavonahavebeendescribed.Howeverrecentstudieshave
Membersofthisgenusaremostlyfoundinshallowwaterhabitats,suchaslagoons,reef distinctivepattern.Septaareincyclesandonlysomereachcolumella.Insomecasescolumellaispoorlydevelopedandliesdeepwithinthefossa.Coloniesaremostlybrownincolour.Someshowsshadesofpurple,green,oryellow.Tinytentaclesmaybe
;1""""""<I:o<l:0~<I:<I:<I:~~O<I:~~(A
~JO"A

(St

S..!,
ep
<l:o~~o
----~----~--.;'.;'.;'0;I~<1:;1<1:<1:<1:.;'""ec<I:0.;'.;'0.;'0.;'""oX;I"".;'""<1:<1:<1:<1:""""
poorly

Remarks

e<l:<I:",,;I<I:~;I
currents

"""""'~-"'JO~
--~------~--~C<I:.;';I~;I;lec"";1"tt~
extended

S.?
-"'JOA"p""

a-cas
generally

Characters

a,s.?

A.?
~----~----~--
t)
ae
S.?

Aa.?
defined

during

OX.;'
,.>s
O;l;l

JOS"""
S~S
and sunlight.

,A<!A-'"

0;1
walls.

""""""<1:
not common

"'-"'JO"pAA
the day.

as,
"""A~'>S
The

...P""JOA"p

;1"";1<1:;1
<1:<1:
."pA~""-

"".?
."p"'..!-"'s

O;l.;';lO.;'O.;'O<l:.;'O.;'O<l:
"""'
<1:""
Family

septo-costae

C<I:.;'
~e~JOA'A
S~AA

."pA~'>A
~""JOA"p""'"
0

<I:
~'JOA"pJO",IJO~
serve as sheltered habitats for large reef fish.

32
in any reef habitat.

,
<1:;1

0;1<1:;1
,'"
------~
Maldives and four are illustrated here (Fig. 7a-d).
Agariciidae

arrangement

'~JOAA
aSA.?
There

garacll
..

",

O<l:oC.;'
""'A~.?
~""JO

."pA~ --
d ae )
joining

...P~""""
"

C<I:.;'.;'o.;'.;'
.;'0;10;1<1:;1<1:;1.;'

--
a

aSA.?
""""~A

""JOA"pA'A

<1:<1:0;1.;'
are six extant

,"',,-
corallites

...P,,"'-JO'JO
"'SA

"""'A
S~S
~<I:"
( 7a - d ~:;

;I.;'
)
genera:

~xo""
A~"'A"p
A.?
creates

~I.~
.I

<I:<I:<I:

...P"'-"'JOA./'
."pA"pA~.r.J
....

"..:1

~.?JOs..r,;J
""'J'v

..r,;""
tt

"'..P ..r..r.r""
Pavona;

t
a very
indicated that there are only 12 true species. Six of these are known to occur in the

flats and upper reef slopes. They may attain huge sizes rivaled only by Porites, and
.7AA
.r'
n

",tIII

o
J7S
.;'A
~'p.?p.;'~.//AA-.p~.I"'"svJO~.I""'S.?s.?s.'pA.I""'/.I""'.;'.?;'.?~.pSSA,?V...CCC~C::>...Cc.'pA.I""'/~.//~.I"'"~~/~/J>-"/
/

::> /
./
A.?..p~.I""'S~
/'e.?A'p~.p.?1"'".'pA,?V""",?ASAJOS.?AAVA,?VS.?SSJO.p-.?~......~...
~...
.'pA..J'AS.I"'"...0::>...CC/0C,.,.::>o~.I""'.I""'.I""'./A/~.I"'"ASAJOS.?AA~......
VA.?JO.I"'"
C

CCC::>~
::>C::>
oC

C
C C

....
/

7b
A/'pV
/0

.I""'./.?S.I""'S.?pSS~JOA'p.~.?S/.~S.?~......
...

....
/ CC

C::>
C//

0
V
('
t:

""
ASt:?A
CC/::>

..pA.I""'.PA/.p.;'.I""'.I""'"",V
CC
0 "'CCo
::>

33
0
A.?I"'"

/OC""::>o~
...
C

....
/
/

....
...

C
0
A-"
o

/
V.p

....
/

.'pV.?S.1""'.1""'/.l""'VJO-~./.?JO
....

~'p.?1"'"
//::>

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0

/I
S
....
C...

./V
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....
0'"

7a
C::>/

C::>/I
C

SJO.p-.?

.I""'.p
C::>/~

::>...

0
....

....
"""A/
0"""
...

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::
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C;
C::>0
C /::>

o::
o/cc.
cc
~::
0:
C~C
C::
.7c

34
LeptoserisMilne-Edwards&Hairne,1849
There are 14 true species of this genus. Six are known to occur in the Maldives. Four
are illustrated here (Fig. 8a-d).

Characters
'Lepta'referstoslenderwhile'seris'meanslettuce,indicatingtheleafyformofthisgenus.Leptoserismayhaveanencrustingbase,turningfoliaceous,ormaybeentirelyencrusting.Coloniesmaybebrown,green,redorgray.Theoutsidemarginsofthecorallummaybepalerincolour.Unlikeitscloserelative,Pavana,foliaceouscoloniesofLeptaserisareunifacial.Collinesarecommonandencloseacentralmouth,while
septo-costae are fine and tend to run from corallite to corallite. Corallites are usually 2
-Smmindiameter.Polypsmaybeextendedduringtheday.
Remarks
Leptoseristendstopreferareasoflowlight.Thereforethesecoralsoccursindeeper
water on lower reef slopes, and also in overhangs and crevices. These are usually
uncommon and found only by scuba divers.

"p: