New Cave-Dwelling Reef Coral Found In The Indo-Pacific

Almost all reef corals generally would not be found beyond 40 meter depth, a twilight zone in which sunlight is not vivid anymore, though certain species of those genus Leptoseris are special and can even manifest much deeper. At increased depths, ocean water is generally cooler and corals at this point may be less prone to bleaching compared to those at the shallower depths. Besides the absence of zooxanthellae and its own small size, the skeletal systems of the new species signify that it can be closely associated with these Leptoseris corals, even though it has not already been discovered further than 35 meters so far.

The species is referred to as Leptoseris troglodyta. The particular word troglodyta comes from ancient Greek and thus stands for “one who dwells in holes,” the cave dweller. The breakthrough sheds new light upon the relationship of reef corals among symbiotic algae. The new innovative species has adjusted to an existence without them. As a result, it might not develop rapidly, which would be favorable since space is minimal upon cave ceilings. The species specification is posted in the free access journal ZooKeys.