Skeletal Modification by a Polychaete Annelid in Some Scleractinian Corals

  • R. H. Randall
  • L. G. Eldredge


The presence in some faviid corals of deep intercalicular grooves and subphaceloid corallites united by a system of tubercules and epitheca-like tubes (groove-and-tube structure) has been the subject of considerable controversy and speculation in reef-coral taxonomy since the feature was first described by Milne Edwards and Haime (1848) in their diagnosis of the genus Phymastrea. During the past ten years, the present authors have been studying and collecting reef corals at Guam and at other Micronesian islands and have never observed features which could be related to such a unique mode of corallite junction. The first encounter with this structural feature came while the senior author was a member of a joint Sino-American team conducting a biological survey of the coral reefs of southern Taiwan. During this survey the coral wall junction was hastily noted while cleaning and packing coral specimens, but it was not until later when the coral collection was being studied in detail, that the significance and possible association of the coral and some other organism was realized. This has been a problem noted by several others who had studied similar structures (Quelch, 1886; Rosen, 1968). We thus found ourselves in the same situation as previous workers studying this structural feature, without preserved coralla with intact polyps and without the opportunity to observe in situ specimens known to possess the structure. Our field data and specimen notes indicate that this common and conspicuous coral, here placed with Favia valenciennesii (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848), was collected and observed in a wide range of biotopes along the Southern Taiwan coast (Jones et al., 1972).


Coral Collection Solomon Island Scleractinian Coral Marshall Island Deep Groof 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Duncan, P. M., 1883. On the madreporarian genus Phymastrea of Milne Edwards and Jules Haime, with a description of a new species. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1883:406–412.Google Scholar
  2. Gibbs, P. E., 1971. The polychaete fauna of the Solomon Islands. Bull. Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.), 21(5):99–211.Google Scholar
  3. Grassé, P., 1959. Annelides, myzostomides, sipunculiens, echiuriens, priapuliens, endoproctes, phoronidiens. Traité de Zoologie, 5(1):1–1053.Google Scholar
  4. Hartman, O., 1954. Marine annelids from the northern Marshall Islands. Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap., 2600:619–644.Google Scholar
  5. Imajima, M., 1966a. The Syllidae (polychaetous annelids) from Japan. I. Exogoninae. Publ. Seto Mar. Biol. Lab., 8(5):385–404.Google Scholar
  6. Imajima, M., 1966b. The Syllidae (polychaetous annelids) from Japan (IV). Syllinae (1). Publ. Seto Mar. Biol. Lab., 9(3): 219–252.Google Scholar
  7. Imajima, M., 1966c. The Syllidae (polychaetous annelids) from Japan (V). Syllinae (2). Publ. Seto Mar. Biol. Lab., 9(4): 253–294.Google Scholar
  8. Jones, R. S., R. H. Randall, Ying-Min-Cheng, H. T. Kami, and Shin-Min-Mak, 1972. A marine biological survey of southern Taiwan with emphasis on corals and fishes. Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Special Pub. No. 1, 93 p.Google Scholar
  9. Matthai, G., 1914. A revision of the recent colonial Astraeidae possessing distinct corallites. Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond., Zool., 17(2):1–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Matthai, G., 1924. Report on the madreporarian corals in the Indian Museum. Mem. Indian Mus., 8:1–59.Google Scholar
  11. Milne Edwards, H., and J. Haime, 1848. Recherches sur les polypiers. Mem. 2: Monographie des turbinolides. Ann. Sci. Nat. (Paris), 9(3):211–344.Google Scholar
  12. Milne Edwards, H., and J. Haime, 1857. Histoire naturelle des coralliaires. Paris.Google Scholar
  13. Quelch, J. J., 1886. Report on the reef corals. Repts. Sci. Res. H.M.S. “Challenger” 1873–76, 16(3):1–203.Google Scholar
  14. Rosen, B. R., 1968. An account of a pathologic structure in the Faviidae (Anthozoa): A revision of Favia valenciennesii (Edwards and Haime) and its allies. Bull. Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.), Zool., 16(8):325–352.Google Scholar
  15. Takahasi, K., 1941. Polychaeta of the Palao Islands of the South Sea Islands. Palao Trop. Biol. Sta. Stud., 2(2):157–217.Google Scholar
  16. Umbgrove, J. H. F., 1939. Madreporaria from the Bay of Batavia. Zool. Meded., 22:1–64.Google Scholar
  17. Vaughan, T. W., 1918. Some shoal-water corals from Murray Island (Australia), Cocos-Keeling Islands and Fanning Island. Pap. Dept. Mar. Biol. Carnegie Inst. Wash., 9(213): 51–234.Google Scholar
  18. Yabe, H., T. Sugiyama, and M. Eguchi, 1936. Recent reef-building corals from Japan and the South Sea Islands under the Japanese Mandate. Tohoku Imp. Univ., Sci. Repts. (Sendai), ser. 2, spec. vol., 1:1–66.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. H. Randall
    • 1
  • L. G. Eldredge
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Guam Marine LaboratoryAganaUSA

Personalised recommendations