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Extreme morphological plasticity enables a free mode of life in Favia gravid at Ascension Island (South Atlantic)
Hoeksema, B.W. (2012). Extreme morphological plasticity enables a free mode of life in Favia gravid at Ascension Island (South Atlantic). Mar. Biodiv. 42(2): 289-295. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12526-011-0106-z
In: Marine Biodiversity. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 1867-1616, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Asexual reproduction; Budding; Fragmentation; Isolation; Rock pools; Favia gravida Verrill, 1868 [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Epitheca; Free-living

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  • Hoeksema, B.W., more

Abstract
    Samples of free-living corals of Favia gravida (Scleractinia: Faviidae) have been studied. They were collected from an intertidal rock pool on Ascension Island, southern Atlantic Ocean. They consist of phaceloid clusters of corallites that appear to be able to easily break apart from each other by the formation of slits inbetween them, which indicates the occurrence of asexual reproduction by fragmentation. The bas of the fragments is usually tapering or conical and covered by an epitheca. Small corallites on the base of some specimens suggest that the corals also reproduce by budding. By not depending on a solid substratum for reproduction, the corals appear to be utterly adapted to a free mode of life. These traits have not been reported before from Favia, which normally consists of massive corals. The variable shape of the corals at hand indicate that they have adopted a plastic free-living growth form that appears to be confined to a rock pool habitat.

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