, Volume 23, Issue 2, p 234
Date: 27 Mar 2004

Indo-Pacific mushroom corals found on Jamaican reefs

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The impact of non-native, or “exotic” species, is considered to be a leading cause of native species extinction and overall habitat degradation. This threat is well documented in many ecosystems, but the presence and effects of exotic species on tropical coral reefs are rarely considered. Here we report the reappearance of an exotic coral on a Caribbean reef, 37 years after it was originally introduced (Fig. 1).Fig.  1

Underwater photograph of the Indo-Pacific species Fungia scutaria placed on the surface of a dead colony of Montastraea annularis at Discovery Bay, Jamaica. The coral is ~14 cm in diameter along its longest axis. Note an actively budding, asexual polyp on the upper-right surface of the parent colony

While diving on the fore-reef of Discovery Bay, Jamaica (15 m depth) in February 2003, we discovered two individuals of the mushroom coral Fungia scutaria. These free-living corals, which comprise a single large polyp, are naturally distributed across the western Indo-Pacific

Communicated by Topic Editor R. Dodge