Coral Reefs

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 507-510

First online:

Brown-band syndrome on feeding scars of the crown-of-thorn starfish Acanthaster planci

  • M. M. NuguesAffiliated withLeibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT)Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) Email author 
  • , R. P. M. BakAffiliated withRoyal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)University of Amsterdam, IBED

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Despite the growing impact of coral diseases on reef ecosystems, little is known about the role of coral predation in disease transmission. An experiment on the coral reefs of Derawan Island, Indonesia, revealed brown-band syndrome on Acropora cytherea coral colonies following predation by the crown-of-thorn starfish Acanthaster planci. To experimentally exclude predation, living coral tissue adjacent to feeding scars was enclosed using cages and monitored for 15 days. Compared with similarly caged but uninjured colonies, which showed no sign of disease or tissue loss, preyed upon colonies showed a higher incidence of the disease, coupled with further tissue mortality. This study provides preliminary evidence that A. planci might promote the transmission of some coral diseases.


Coral disease Acanthaster planci Predation Ciliates Emergent Syndromes Injury