Marine Biology

, Volume 132, Issue 4, pp 691–701 | Cite as

Reproductive patterns of scleractinian corals in the northern Red Sea

  • Y. Shlesinger
  • T. L. Goulet
  • Y. Loya


The majority of published accounts on scleractinian coral reproduction are from the tropical Pacific and Caribbean, with very little information known about Red Sea species. This report examines variation in reproductive mode in 24 species of hermatypic corals (belonging to seven families) in the Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea. Eighteen species are hermaphroditic broadcasters, two are hermaphroditic brooders and three are gonochoric broadcasters. In the Pocilloporidae, the gonads project into the body cavity, while in the other six families the gonads reside inside the mesenteries. The number of gonads per polyp in broadcasting species follows family or genus lines. Fecundity (eggs per polyp) increases with polyp size. Brooding species usually exhibit one or two gonads per polyp and each gonad contains only one to three oocytes. Oocyte size varies widely and does not relate to mode of reproduction. The largest oocytes (diameter = 450 μm) occur in the brooding coral Alveopora daedalea and in broadcasting species of the genus Acropora (diameter = 420 μm). Gonad morphology and gonochorism versus hermaphroditism appear to be constrained phylogenetically at the family or genus level. Lastly, this report compares the data presented for Red Sea scleractinian species with the data available on scleractinian corals from other geographical regions.


Scleractinian Coral Reproductive Mode Reproductive Pattern Polyp Size Hermatypic Coral 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. Shlesinger
    • 1
  • T. L. Goulet
    • 2
  • Y. Loya
    • 3
  1. 1.Environmental Department Municipality of Eilat, P.O. Box14, Eilat 88100, IsraelIL
  2. 2.Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14260, USAUS
  3. 3.Department of Zoology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and the Porter Super-Center for Ecological and Environmental Studies, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, IsraelIL

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