Coral IDC: Montastraea

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Coral ID: Montastraea (Orbicella)

Coral Identification for Curacaoan coral species (permanently under construction)

This set of pictures aims to show the differences between coral species that are often “mistaken” for one another. Because terminology to describe each species is often subjective (i.e. has larger polyps or smaller ridges) having both species in one picture might help to get a better idea of how such closely related/ similar looking “species” can be distinguished from one another. Be aware that for the purpose of this page, we use the “conversational species concept”, which is simply intended to describe the variation that exists in morphological features of Caribbean corals around Curacao.

For Montastraea (Orbicella) corals (“star corals”) see below
For Agaricid corals (“plating corals”)
For braincorals (well….)
For everything else,

Montastraea

M cavernosa [colourmorphs 2]

Different colormorphs of Montastraea cavernosa (also note that the colony on the left has much larger polyps)

M cavernosa colourmorphs

Different morphs of Montastraea cavernosa: one with small polyps (left) and one big with large polyps (right)

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Different morphs of Montastraea cavernosa: one with small polyps (left) and one big with large polyps (right)

Montastraea cavernosa [size morphs]

Different morphs of Montastraea cavernosa: one with large polyps (left) and one with small polyps (right)

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Different morphs of Montastraea cavernosa: one with large polyps (left) and one with small polyps (right)

2 CNAT 1 vs CNAT 2

Different morphs of Montastraea cavernosa: one opens it polyps during the day (left), the other one at night (right)

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Different colormorphs of Montastraea cavernosa

Montastaea cavernosa vs Palythoa

Sometimes Montastraea cavernosa (left) is mistaken for the zoanthid Palythoa (right)

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Sometimes Montastraea cavernosa (right) is mistaken for Dichocoenia stokesi (right)

Aruba Aug 2009 (2)

Montastraea  annularis occurs in various morphs. Colums can be either small and “knobby” (front) or more columnar in shape (back)

Aruba Aug 2009 (3)

Montastraea  faveolata occurs in various morphs. Cololonies can be either “dome”like (left) or “pagode”like in shape (right)

MFAV VARIA

Montastraea  faveolata occuring in various morphs.

Mann vs Mfav

Montastraea faveolata (front) and Montastraea annularis (back)

Aruba Aug 2009 (4)

Montastraea faveolata (large, whitish colonies in center) and Montastraea annularis (columnar colonies on the right)

Montastraea faveolata vs annularis

Montastraea  annularis (left) and Montastraea faveolata (right)

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Montastraea faveolata colonies become “flatter”under wave exposed conditions

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Note the different color varieties of Montastraea faveolata colonies

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Note the different color varieties of Montastraea faveolata colonies arising as colonies recover from bleaching. The colony in the middle has fully recovered, whereas the one on the right has only partly recovered

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Note the different morphological varieties of Montastraea faveolata colonies

Montastraea faveolata vs annularis 2

Montastraea  annularis (center) and Montastraea faveolata (around)

Montastraea faveolata vs annularis Westpunt april 2009 (12)

Montastraea  annularis (front) and Montastraea faveolata (background)

2 MFAV vs MANN

Montastraea  faveolata (left) and Montastraea annularis (right)

Cur October 4 2009 (18)

Montastraea  faveolata (left) and Montastraea annularis (right)

Aruba Aug 2009

Montastraea  faveolata (right). The colony on the left has characteristics of both Montastraea annularis (columns) and Montastraea  faveolata (“skirts” at the bottom of the colony)

MFAV vs MFRA

Montastraea  franksi (bottom) and Montastraea faveolata (top)

MFRA vs MFAV

Montastraea  franksi (left) and Montastraea faveolata (right)

MFAV vs MFRA(1)

Montastraea faveolata (left) and Montastraea  franksi (right)

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Montastraea franksi (left) and Montastraea  faveolata (right)

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Montastraea  franksi (colorvarieties)

MFRA vs MFAV detail

Montastraea  franksi (left) and Montastraea faveolata (right)

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Montastraea  franksi (left) and Montastraea faveolata (right)

Montastraea franksi vs Montastraea faveolata

Montastraea  franksi (left) and Montastraea faveolata (right)

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