The scleratinian (stony) coral Diploria strigosa is the most common of the three Diploria species, all of which are endemic to (i.e., found only in) the Atlantic-Caribbean region. This species form crusts, plates, and sub-massive and massive boulders across a wide depth distribution (0 to 35 meters) and is abundant across most reef habitats in the Caribbean region. It is a simultaneous hermaphrodite (i.e., a single individual functions as both male and female) and a broadcast spawner, releasing large, orange gamete (egg and sperm) bundles during the summer, with a single gametogenic (gamete-producing) cycle per year. In broadcast spawners, such as Diploria strigosa, gametes are released into the water and fertilization takes place in the water column. (In the small minority of coral species [although majority of non-stony coral species] with internal fertilization, known as brooders, sperm are released into the water and swim to another polyp containing the eggs, enter through the mouth, and fertilize the eggs; larvae then develop within the polyps.) (Weil and Vargas 2010 and references therein)
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