Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mushroom Coral

[Originally posted to the Moorea Coral Reef LTER (MCR LTER) Marine Life Encyclopedia]

Mushroom or Plate Coral
(Fungia spp.)

Mushroom or Plate Coral  - Fungia spp.
Photo by Gerick Bergsma
Unlike most corals that grow in colonies, Fungia consists of a single, large polyp.

Throughout the tropical Indopacific, from Africa and the Red Sea to Polynesia

Reef slopes and lagoons

Sunlight via photosynthetic symbionts (zooxanthellae) and plankton captured using stinging cells.

Quick Fact
Fungia does not attach to the substrate, and is able to move freely through its surroundings.  Unfortunately, this means that occasionally it is flipped upside down by large waves or other organisms.  In moderate water flow, however, its special mushroom cap shape will catch the current and automatically flip it back.

Learn More
- What are Corals?

- Moorea Biocode Database

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