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Biology

Very little information is available on Leiopathes corals. Their deep-water habitat suggests that, unlike many other corals, they do not possess the symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae, within their tissues. This means that they are not restricted to shallow, sunlit waters where the zooxanthellae can photosynthesise, and instead are able to inhabit deep and dark waters (6). It has recently been discovered that Leiopathes corals may be remarkably long-lived species. Research has revealed that Leiopathes glaberrima has a lifespan in excess of 4,000 years, making it the oldest known marine organism in existence (2).

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