seen? The Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp.) is commonly seen on many of our Southern
Members of the Family Pocilloporidae are considered the second-largest
contributors to reef formations although they have relatively few
species. They are most active and found in greatest numbers in shallow
waters with strong waves. They reproduce easily by fragmentation,
the fragments surviving stress well in nature.
Seriatopora sp. Colonies form compact bush-like
shapes (arborescent), many have thin branches with pointed tips. Often
the branches intertwine and fuse to form a cage-like skeleton. This
genus is distinguished by the neat rows of corallites on the branches.
Stylophora sp. Colonies may be branched, with
thick branches that may be rounded or flattened; or form lumpy shapes
(sub-massive). The corallites are embedded in the skeleton and may
be hooded with small conical spines called spinules. The polyps are
small. These corals are fast growing and adapt well to a wide range
Living with pocilloporids: Some
shrimps and crabs live with Pocillopora corals. While most
just shelter among the corals, some of these eat the polyps. Some
crabs live only with Seriatopora corals. In one species of
crab, the female intentionally traps herself inside a cage of living
coral branches and waits for the small male crab to find and mate
with her. Some damselfishes shelter in Stylophora corals. In
turn, it is believed the coral benefits from the waste materials of
the fish as corals with these fishes have been found to grow much
Human Uses: Many pocilloporid
species are harvested for sale as souvenirs. Being tough, Pocillopora coral are often kept in captivity and used in laboratory conditions.
They are sometimes called the coral guinea pigs. They are among the
best studied corals.
Status and threats: Some members
of the Family Pocilloporidae recorded for Singapore are listed as
globally Near Threatened by
the IUCN. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are
affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling
by careless visitors, and over-collection also have an impact on local
Labrador, Jun 05
Pocilloporidae recorded for Singapore
Danwei Huang, Karenne P. P. Tun, L. M Chou and Peter A. Todd. 30 Dec
2009. An inventory of zooxanthellate sclerectinian corals in Singapore
including 33 new records
**the species found on many shores in
in red are those listed as threatened
on the IUCN global list.
(Cauliflower coral) with list of species recorded for Singapore
Seriatopora hystrix (Thin birdnest coral)
Stylophora pistillata (Smooth cauliflower coral) (Near Threatened)
- Danwei Huang,
Karenne P. P. Tun, L. M Chou and Peter A. Todd. 30 Dec 2009. An
inventory of zooxanthellate sclerectinian corals in Singapore
including 33 new records (pdf). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology
Supplement No. 22: 69-80.
- Veron, Jen.
of the World Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia. 3 volumes.
- Chou, L.
M., 1998. A
Guide to the Coral Reef Life of Singapore. Singapore Science
Centre. 128 pages.
Harry and Daniel Knop. 2005. Corals:
Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 305 pp.
Eric H. 2001. Aquarium
Corals: Selection, Husbandry and Natural History T.F. H Publications. 464 pp
- Wee Y.C.
and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore.
National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
- Ng, P. K.
L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The
Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore.
The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.