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Biology

Corallium corals have separate male and female colonies (not all corals do), and from the few reports of reproduction, it is believed that fertilization is internal, and therefore depends on free-swimming sperm from male colonies reaching the polyps of female colonies. The fertilised egg then develops into larvae within the female polyp's body cavity. Development takes about 30 days, and the larvae are subsequently released into the water column between late July and August. The larvae quickly settle on the substrate close to the parent colony, where they attach themselves and form a new colony (3). Corallium colonies grow at a slow rate of less than one centimetre a year, do not reach maturity until between 7 and 12 years old, and can live for up to 100 years (1). Unlike many coral species, Corallium corals do not have the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae living within the coral tissue; they are azooxanthellate (1). Lacking zooxanthellae means that the coral must obtain nutrients by another method. Corallium corals feed on particles of organic matter, suspended in the water, which are captured by their tentacles. They also occasionally capture and consume larger zooplankton (1).

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Source: ARKive

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