This week I have decided to delve into a slightly tougher group of corals the Poritidae family. Whereas the previous 2 families we have looked at have varied from each genre these are much more similar in appearance and are often mistaken for each other. However, there are subtle differences which I will now show you.
The Poritidae family consists of Porites, Goniopora, and Alvepora.
Porites Poritidae forms some of the largest of all coral colonies even with its tiny corallites. There have been documented near-spherical giants, measuring heights of 8 m! On average it grows 9 mm per year and some of the largest colonies have been documented to be nearly 1000 years old, which makes them one of the oldest animal lifeforms!!
The corallites are small, hexagonal and immersed with calices less than 2 mm in diameter. It has a smooth and solid appearance even though when close up it has an appearance of a golf ball. You also mainly find Christmas Tree Worms living in Porites.
Goniopora Poritidae is generally an aggressive coral and it is unusual to see other corals growing close to it. It is also one of few genres to have male and female colonies. Its main lifeforms are submassive and massive.
It has individual polyps which are long and fleshy extended 24 hours a day unless disturbed when it will retract temporarily revealing it’s the skeleton. At the end of each polyp it has 24 tentacles and is very often confused the Alvepora.
Alvepora Poritidae is one of the rarest of all the corals in the Indian Ocean. Whilst I was doing my research this was known as a ‘beer coral’ i.e. if you found it you get a free beer!!
It is very similar in appearance to Goniopora in the fact that it has large and fleshy individual polyps that are extended 24 hours a day unless threatened. Each polyp has 12 rounded tentacles at the end.
Next week we shall be looking into the Oculindae, Euphyllidae and Dendrophylliidae Families!!