Four new corals recorded from Indian waters

What is the News?

Scientists have recorded four species of azooxanthellate corals for the first time from Indian waters. 

What are the four new species of corals found?

The four new species of azooxanthellate corals found are: 1) Truncatoflabellum crassum, 2) T. incrustatum, 3) T. Irregular and 4) T. Krasum.

These corals were found in the waters of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. They are from the same family Flabellidae.

They are non-reef building, solitary corals and have a highly compressed skeletal structure.

Significance: Most studies of hard corals in India have been concentrated on reef-building corals while much is not known about non-reef-building corals. These new species enhance our knowledge about non-reef-building solitary corals.

What are Azooxanthellate Corals?

Azooxanthellate corals are a group of hard corals. They do not contain zooxanthellae and derive nourishment not from the sun but from capturing different forms of planktons.

They are deep-sea representatives with the majority of species being reported from depths between 200 meters and 1,000 meters.

They are also reported from shallow waters, unlike zooxanthellate corals that are restricted to shallow waters.

Note: There are about 570 species of hard corals found in India and almost 90% of them are found in the waters surrounding Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The pristine and oldest ecosystem of corals shares less than 1% of the earth’s surface, but they provide a home to nearly 25% of marine life.

Source: The post is based on the article “Four new corals recorded from Indian waters” published in The Hindu on 23rd June 2022.

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