Specific records: Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea (Socotra), Madagascar, Lakshadweep, W Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Yap, Pohnpei (Micronesia), Papua New Guinea, Bismarck Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Solomon Islands (DeVantier and Turak pers. comm.).
Randall and Cheng (1984) give the range from Red Sea to the Ellice Islands, and New Hebrides to Taiwan.
Razak and Hoeksema (2003) give Indonesia, Australia west and east coast, Xisha Is, China, Guam, Japan, Philippines, South China Sea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Habitat and Ecology
Millepora species are generally found in inshore areas characterized by turbidity, and exhibit a tolerance for siltation. They often occur in clear offshore sites (Lovell pers. comm.)
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
There is no species specific population information available for this species. However, there is evidence that overall coral reef habitat has declined, and this is used as a proxy for population decline for this species. This species is more resilient to some of the threats faced by corals and therefore population decline is estimated using the percentage of destroyed reefs only (Wilkinson 2004). We assume that most, if not all, mature individuals will be removed from a destroyed reef and that on average, the number of individuals on reefs are equal across its range and proportional to the percentage of destroyed reefs. Reef losses throughout the species' range have been estimated over three generations, two in the past and one projected into the future.
The age of first maturity of most reef building corals is typically three to eight years (Wallace 1999) and therefore we assume that average age of mature individuals is greater than eight years. Furthermore, based on average sizes and growth rates, we assume that average generation length is 10 years, unless otherwise stated. Total longevity is not known, but likely to be more than ten years. Therefore any population decline rates for the Red List assessment are measured over at least 30 years. Follow the link below for further details on population decline and generation length estimates.
In general, the major threat to corals is global climate change, in particular, temperature extremes leading to bleaching and increased susceptibility to disease, increased severity of ENSO events and storms, and ocean acidification. In addition to global climate change, corals are also threatened by disease, and a number of localized threats. The severity of these combined threats to the global population of each individual species is not known.
Coral disease has emerged as a serious threat to coral reefs worldwide and is a major cause of reef deterioration (Weil et al. 2006). The numbers of diseases and coral species affected, as well as the distribution of diseases have all increased dramatically within the last decade (Porter et al. 2001, Green and Bruckner 2000, Sutherland et al. 2004, Weil 2004). Coral disease epizootics have resulted in significant losses of coral cover and were implicated in the dramatic decline of acroporids in the Florida Keys (Aronson and Precht 2001, Porter et al. 2001, Patterson et al. 2002). In the Indo-Pacific, disease is also on the rise with disease outbreaks recently reported from the Great Barrier Reef (Willis et al. 2004), Marshall Islands (Jacobson 2006) and the northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Aeby 2006). Increased coral disease levels on the Great Barrier Reef were correlated with increased ocean temperatures (Willis et al. 2007) supporting the prediction that disease levels will be increasing with higher sea surface temperatures. Escalating anthropogenic stressors combined with the threats associated with global climate change of increases in coral disease, frequency and duration of coral bleaching and ocean acidification place coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific at high risk of collapse.
Localized threats to corals include fisheries, human development (industry, settlement, tourism, and transportation), changes in native species dynamics (competitors, predators, pathogens and parasites), invasive species (competitors, predators, pathogens and parasites), dynamite fishing, chemical fishing, pollution from agriculture and industry, domestic pollution, sedimentation, and human recreation and tourism activities.
Recommended measures for conserving this species include research in taxonomy, population, abundance and trends, ecology and habitat status, threats and resilience to threats, restoration action; identification, establishment and management of new protected areas; expansion of protected areas; recovery management; and disease, pathogen and parasite management. Artificial propagation and techniques such as cryo-preservation of gametes may become important for conserving coral biodiversity.
Having timely access to national-level trade data for CITES analysis reports would be valuable for monitoring trends this species. The species is targeted by collectors for the aquarium trade and fisheries management is required for the species, e.g., Marine Protected Areas, quotas, size limits, etc. Consideration of the suitability of species for aquaria should also be included as part of fisheries management, and population surveys should be carried out to monitor the effects of harvesting.
Net fire coral
Like all fire corals, the net fire coral is a hydrozoan, consisting of a colony of polyps with a calcareous skeleton. Part of the metabolism of the fire coral relies on zooxanthellae included in their anatomy. They are found from the Red Sea to Samoa and South Africa. They form fan-shaped colonies up to 60 cm across, but clumps may be several metres across. Coloured mustard to olive-yellow, the fans form in a single plane.
Feeding polyps snare plankton from the passing current along exposed portions of upper reef slopes up to 15 m depth, growing transverse to the prevailing current to ensure maximum exposure to passing foodstuff. The stinging nematocysts contain a toxin which causes painful burn-like wounds on contact. At worst, this may cause collapse in those with a severe allergic reaction. Skin irritation may continue for up to two weeks.
- Lieske, E. and Myers, R.F. (2004) Coral reef guide; Red Sea London, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-715986-2