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You are here:   OldClasses > 2012 > Stylophora pistillata | Alex Coughlan




Stylophora pistillata, Esper 1797

 Hood coral        
 (Alex Coughlan, 2012)




Fact Sheet



Physical Description


Life History & Behaviour

Anatomy & Physiology

Evolution & Systematics

Biogeographic Distribution

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Two primary classes exist within the phyla Cnidaria; Anthozoa (corals and anemones) and Medusozoa (jellyfish and hydroids).  Corals are considered keystone species within coral reefs globally, providing up to 1/3 of the population with food. Just one of the coral species found on the Great Barrier Reef is Stylophora pistillata. Commonly known as the Hood or Smooth cauliflower coral, this hermatypic (reef-building) coral is widely distributed within the Indo-West Pacific region. Found in shallow waters (<1m) down to depths of up to 70m, Stylophora pistillata exhibits a variety of colour and structural morphologies in order to adapt to a range of environmental variables. Like many corals, Stylophora pistillata is hermaphroditic and utilises brooding as its reproductive strategy. Furthermore, Stylophora pistillata exhibits mutualistic relationships with both zooxanthellae and other reef fauna such as crustaceans and fish.
A short investigation into the abundance and variations of the colour and branching morphologies was conducted on the Northern and Southern sides of Heron Island to determine the relative abundance of the organisms on the reef flat. An assessment of the morphology was used to identify if there was any variability between the two sites given the differing environmental variables.




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