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Lesson, 1829

Tubastraea coccinea (3)

Type species: Tubastraea coccinea Lesson, 1829

Total number of species estimated: 6 (another 2 species known as fossils)

Characteristics: Corals azooxanthellate, colonial, and attached, up to 1 m in height. Colonies may be small and plocoid or larger and sympodial in growth form, in either case branching is predominantly extratentacular. Theca porous (synapticulothecate) and covered with granular costae. Inner and upper edges of larger septa smooth; septa not arranged in a Pourtalès plan, but in a normal fashion (i.e., their inner edges do not fuse with other septa). Columella spongy and well developed. Colour: bright orange, black, green.

Ecology: One species, T. micranthus, forms large tree-like colonies in shallow-water, and although it is azooxanthellate, is large enough to contribute to reef structure, so must be considered as an azooxanthellate hermatypic coral - a rare ecological category among the Scleractinia (Schuhmacher and Zibrowius, 1985). Another species, T. coccinea, appears to be the only known shallow-water circumtropical species, probably the result of global transport on the bottoms of ship hulls (Cairns, in press, b).

Range: Early Eocene to Recent: eaxtant species circumtropical at depths of 0-110 m. Three species are known from Indonesian waters.

Additional remarks: None.

Genus Tubastraea