Four Species Of Azooxanthellate Corals:
Scientists have recorded Four Species of Azooxanthellate Corals under the Genus Truncatoflabellum (Scleractinian: Flabellidae) for the first time from Indian waters.
- Truncatoflabellum crassum, T. incrustatum, T. aculeatum, and T. irregulare are the four species of corals found.
- These groups of coral were previously found from Japan to the Philippines and Australian waters while only T. crassum was reported within the range of Indo-West Pacific distribution including the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf.
- They are found from the Waters of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- They are Azooxanthellate corals, which are a group of corals that do not contain zooxanthellae and derive nourishment not from the sun but from capturing different forms of plankton.
- Zooxanthellae are unicellular, golden-brown algae (dinoflagellates) that live either in the water column as plankton or symbiotically inside the tissue of other organisms.
- Zooxanthellate corals, meanwhile, are restricted to shallow waters.
- They are hard corals and are not only solitary but have a highly compressed skeletal structure.
- There are about 570 species of hard corals found in India and almost 90% of them are found in the waters surrounding Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The pristine and oldest ecosystem of corals share less than 1% of the earth’s surface but they provide a home to nearly 25% of marine life.
- They are deep-sea representatives, with the majority of species reporting from between 200 m to 1000 m.
- They also occur in shallow coastal waters.