Aposematic Coloration and Mutualism in Sponge-Dwelling Tropical Zoanthids

  • David A. West


Consolidated substrate appears to be at a premium for sessile coral reef inhabitants. Studies of tropical reef faunas suggest that organisms are competing for space in a number of ways (e. g., Lang, 1971; Connell, 1976; Jackson and Buss, 1975; Sebens, 1976). Many sessile organisms, however, appear to have lost out in the more open regions of reefs to superior competitors such as the scleractinian corals (Jackson, et al, 1971). Still others have evolved mechanisms which enable them to utilize other organisms as substrate for attachment. Such associations are often complex in nature, involving adaptations by coevolving symbionts to facilitate mutualistic interaction. Found on the coral reefs of Puerto Rico is one genus of zoanthideans, Parazoanthus, which has exploited such an interaction as a solution to substrate scarcity.


Coral Reef Prey Type Sessile Organism Fish Weight Death Time 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. West
    • 1
  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaUSA

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