Facts about this animal
The Cladocora is a stony coral with a half globular calcareous skeleton of up to more than 50 cm in diameter. However, the form of the colony depends on depth, light and currant. The colour is brown. The polyps can retract completely into their tubular skeletons, called corallites, of 4-5 mm width.
It is active by day and night and the tentacles are exposed to capture prey which consists of plankton. Inside its body it houses symbiotic algae, called zooxanthellae. Sometimes tube-worms are living on the colony.
Reproduction is mainly asexual by budding new polyps parallel to the mother-polyp. Thus, laminar colonies with continuous growth as well as fusion of colonies of around 100 square meters are reported. This form is called bank and exists mostly in the south-eastern part of the range, whereas the smaller usual form is called bed. Sexual reproduction by means of sperms and eggs has not been reported until 2005. Then, spawning colonies were found in the southern Adriatic Sea coinciding with full moon at midsummer. Sperms were white and eggs were orange with a diameter of 0.3-0.5 mm.
Fossil records are more frequent than living colonies, thus, climate change is thought to be the reason for this decline. Additionally, Cladocora is threatened by the invasive algae Caulerpa taxifolia which overgrows the coral and thereby kills it.
Did you know?
that until recently it was unknown if Cladocora also reproduces sexually like other stony corals?
|Name (Scientific)||Cladocora caespitosa|
|Name (Spanish)||Madrépora mediterránea|
|Local names||Italian: Madrepora pagnota|
|CITES Status||Appendix II|
|CMS Status||Not listed|
|Range||Distributed over the whole Mediterranean Sea and adjacent Atlantic coasts of Iberia and Morokko|
|Habitat||On rocky bottoms as well as in seagrass meadows down to 50 m.|
|Wild population||Uncommon, although locally abundant. Population trend unknown. No population information is known or information available about threats. Research on this species and its ecology is recommended.|
|Zoo population||0 reported to ISIS (2008)|
In the Zoo
Why do zoos keep this animal
Little is known on this wide-spread but uncommon species. Though much can be learned by keeping them in captivity.