Azooxanthellate Corals


  • New species of azooxanthellate corals were found from the waters of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for the first time from Indian waters.

About Azooxanthellate corals

  • Azooxanthellate corals are a group of corals that do not contain zooxanthellae and derive nourishment not from the sun but from capturing different forms of planktons.

    Azooxanthellate corals 
    Photo Credit: The Hindu
  • These groups of corals are deep-sea representatives with the majority of species being reported from depths between 200 metres and 1,000 metres.
  • Their occurrences are also reported from shallow coastal waters unlike zooxanthellate corals that are restricted to shallow waters.
  • All the four groups of corals are from the same family, Flabellidae.
    • Truncatoflabellum crassum (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848), T. incrustatum ( Cairns, 1989), T. aculeatum (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848), and T. irregulare (Semper, 1872) under the family Flabellidae were previously found in Japan, the Philippines and Australian waters
    • T. crassum was reported with the range of Indo-West Pacific distribution.
  • Azooxanthellate corals are a group of hard corals and the four new species recorded are not only solitary but have a highly compressed skeletal structure.
  • Most studies of hard corals in India have been concentrated on reef-building corals while much is not known about non-reef-building corals. These new species enhance our knowledge about non-reef-building solitary corals.
  • Coral reefs are one of the most productive, sustainable, and pristine ecosystems of the world’s oceans, especially in shallow coastal waters.
  • Hard corals are the prime and intrinsic part of the coral reef ecosystem.


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