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Biology

The larvae of Stylophora corals readily attach themselves to floating pumice and pieces wood, where they can be transported hundreds or thousands of kilometres. Whilst travelling they can grow into colonies several centimetres across, and are able to produce more larvae en route, thus enabling these corals to be widely distributed (2). Stylophora are hermaphrodites, possessing both male and female reproductive organs. Oddly however, young colonies have been reported to be female only. Eggs are brooded inside the parent polyp until they are fertilised by sperm from another colony, and are then released as free-swimming larvae. The liberation of larvae always occurs after sunset, filling the waters with green, fluorescent larvae that actively swim and may even be capable of swallowing food, before they settle on the substrate to establish a new colony (2).

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Source: ARKive

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