Hammer Coral is a type of hard coral. Its scientific name is Euphyllia ancora but was renamed as Fimbriaphyllia ancora in 2017. It’s part of the Caryophylliidae family.
The Hammer Coral is known by many names such as Anchor Coral, Sausage Coral, Ridge Coral, and Bubble Honeycomb Coral.
What Does Hammer Coral Look Like?
Hammer Coral is a puffy, tubular coral with T-shaped tips. It’s easy to spot because of its unique shape. It can be blue-gray to orange in color. Sometimes, it has green on the tentacles.
The Hammer Coral’s body has a sac-like shape with only one opening. This opening acts as both mouth and anus.
The body wall has two cell layers, the ectodermis and gastrodermis, and a jelly-like layer, called mesoglea in between.
How Big Is Hammer Coral?
The size of a Hammer Coral colony can vary. Usually, it’s no more than a meter across. But, sometimes it can reach several meters.
The body of Hammer Coral is symmetrical around a central axis.
Where Can You Find Hammer Coral?
Hammer Coral is found in the tropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific area. This includes places from the Maldives to the Salomon Islands. A large number of these corals are present in Indonesia.
However, their population is reducing due to several threats, and their coral reef habitat is being destroyed in many areas.
How Does Hammer Coral Reproduce?
Hammer Coral is a gonochoristic species. This means it has separate male and female individuals. They spawn in late spring in Taiwan.
Spawning is when they release their eggs and sperm into the water. This process happens via external fertilization.
When Does Hammer Coral Spawn?
Major nights of spawning for Hammer Coral occur on the 3rd and 6th nights after a full moon.
This happens during a period of neap tides. Neap tides are when the difference between high and low tides is least.
How Does Hammer Coral Develop?
After the Hammer Coral spawns and fertilization takes place, the first cell division happens. This results in equal or unequal-sized blastomeres or cells.
The embryos then develop into a hollow blastula. A blastula is a stage in the development of an embryo.
What Happens After the Blastula Stage?
The blastula then flattens out to form a concave dish. This dish then thickens and redevelops into a spheroidal form. After 14 to 24 hours, ciliated larvae form.
A ciliated larva is a young coral with tiny hair-like structures called cilia. The formation of the cilia leads to the development of an early planula stage.
What Threats Does Hammer Coral Face?
Over the past 100 years, sea temperatures in the tropics have risen by almost 1°C. They are currently increasing at the rate of 1-2°C per century.
Hammer Coral lives close to the upper limit of thermal tolerance. This means they become stressed if exposed to temperatures 1-2°C above normal.
When stressed, Hammer Corals expel their zooxanthellae and turn white. This is known as ‘bleaching’.
How Can We Conserve Hammer Coral?
Conservation is an easy and beneficial way to save Hammer Coral and other coral reefs. Reefs are sometimes found around poor countries or islands.
Activities like scuba diving and snorkeling for tourists can generate revenue. These activities have little or no environmental impact.
They represent an eternally renewable source of income and are likely to be important in conservation efforts.
Hammer Coral Characteristics