, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 505-507
Date: 16 Sep 2004

Orange Cup Coral Tubastraea coccinea invades Florida and the Flower Garden Banks, Northwestern Gulf of Mexico

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Introduction

The azooxanthellate scleractinian coral Tubastraea coccinea has recently been reported to have invaded the Gulf of Mexico (Fenner 2001) and Brazil (Castro and Pires 2001; Ferreira 2003; Figueira de Paula and Creed 2004). It may have been spreading in the Caribbean since it was reported there by Vaughan and Wells (1943), based on material from Curaçao and Puerto Rico, and may even have been introduced into the Caribbean from the Pacific (Cairns 2000; Humann and DeLoach 2002, p. 164). No Caribbean fossils of this species are known (Cairns 1999). Most Caribbean reef building corals (88%) were described before T. coccinea was reported from the Caribbean in 1943, with the median date of description being 116 years earlier. All other genera had been found in the Caribbean before Tubastraea, the last having been found 75 years before Tubastraea was found. The type locality of T. coccinea is Bora Bora, date 1829. Its range includes most or all of the tropical Indo-Pacific (Cairns 2

Communicated by: Ecological Editor P. F. Sale