Lobed Goniophora Coral
Lobed Goniophora Coral ranges across tropical Australia (WA, NT, QLD).
Lobed Goniophora Coral is a stony coral whose polyps form colonies that may be in the form of columns or massive, or may be encrusting. They often grow as round, lobed colonies that may be 200 mm up to 1000 mm across. The corallites have thick, but porous walls.
The coral polyps may grow to 40 mm in length, but has short tentacles that are almost always extended both day and night. Each individual polyp has 24 tentacles in a single ring. The coral skeleton has a granular appearance and the septa or partitions come up from the base floor of the corallite. Tiny pores perforate the septa.
Lobed Coral is usually grey, brown or green in colour. Occurs on reef flats, lagoons and slopes.
Ecology/Way of Life:
Lobed Goniophora Coral is commonly found in turbid muddy water protected from strong wave action. It may be found on reef flats, nearby slopes and in lagoons. It usually has its polyps out both during the night and day. It is easily mistaken for a soft coral. This is an aggressive coral, and may attack other coral species within reach. Sometimes the whole reef face may be covered by this single species so that other coral species are excluded. This coral does not have sweeper tentacles, but the 40mm long polyps may extend and reach out and attack any other coral within reach. Although it uses its stinging cells called nematocysts to capture plankton for food, it is quite safe for humans to touch. If touched, it slowly withdraws its polyps to safety within its solid protective skeleton.
Interaction with Humans/Threats:
Lobed Goniophora Coral is common across its range. The major threat comes from global warming that will endanger the whole Great Barrier Reef and its ecosystems.
Goniophora lobata, Milne Edwards & Haime. Goniophora comes from two Greek words, gonos meaning a seed, and phoreein, to bear. Lobata comes from the Greek word lobos meaning lobed, or a broad, round, segmented division or branch.
Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.36, New Holland Press, Sydney.
Endean, R. (1982) Australia's Great Barrier Reef. p.49, University of Queensland Press.
Reader's Digest (1984) Reader's Digest Book of the Great Barrier Reef. p.41-42, Reader's Digest.
Text, map & map by Keith Davey.
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