The Lobed Brain Coral, scientifically named Lobophyllia hemprichii, is a species of large polyp stony coral. Sometimes, it’s also called the Lobed Cactus Coral or Largebrain Root Coral.
Lobed Brain Coral is a part of the Lobophylliidae family. It gets its unique name from the Prussian naturalist Wilhelm Hemprich, who was one of the first to study marine life in the Red Sea.
What Does the Lobed Brain Coral Look Like?
Lobed Brain Coral is a colonial species of coral. It forms large structures that can be shaped like hemispheres or flat mounds. These structures can be up to 5 m (16 ft) in diameter.
The Lobed Brain Coral is made up of several colonies, often in different colors, that can join together to form a single, larger colony.
What Are the Specific Features of Lobed Brain Coral?
Each colony of Lobed Brain Coral has corallites, which are skeletal cups that have a tubular form and grow from a common base.
These corallites might also be arranged in valleys with each neighbouring valley having a ridge and dividing irregularly.
Inside the corallite cups, there are vertical blades known as septa that taper in thickness and have tall, sharp teeth.
The color of this coral can vary, with shades of grey, pink, violet, or yellowish-brown. Sometimes, the color is uniform, and other times, there are contrasting regions of color.
What Is Unique About the Lobed Brain Coral’s Ability to Feed?
Lobed Brain Coral is a zooxanthellate coral. This means it has single-celled photosynthesizing organisms called dinoflagellates living within its tissues.
These organisms perform photosynthesis, which provides the Lobed Brain Coral with nutrients.
Lobed Brain Coral also has thick, fleshy polyps that can retract back into the corallite cups or extend their tentacles to feed.
Where Is Lobed Brain Coral Found?
Lobed Brain Coral is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
It’s found from the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the east coast of Africa, all the way to Japan, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Australia.
The Lobed Brain Coral is most commonly found at depths between 9 and 15 m (30 and 49 ft), but it can also be found as deep as 50 m (164 ft).
It’s often the dominant species of coral on upper reef slopes, and sometimes, it’s the only species present.
What Is the Conservation Status of The Lobed Brain Coral?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists Lobed Brain Coral species as being of ‘least concern’. This is because it has a wide habitat range and is common in most of that range.
While Lobed Brain Coral is susceptible to damage caused by a rise in sea temperature and ocean acidification, it’s thought to be more resilient than many other species because of its large population size and wide genetic variability.
However, Lobed Brain Coral is collected for the aquarium trade, with Indonesia being the main exporter.
What Is the Biology of The Lobed Brain Coral?
Lobed Brain Coral is hermaphroditic and known for its high bleaching level and high estimated mortality in Palau.
This means each coral has both male and female reproductive organs. The mature gametes are shed into the coelenteron and spawned through the mouth.
The life cycle of Lobed Brain Coral begins when the zygote develops into a planktonic planula larva.
Metamorphosis then begins with early morphogenesis of tentacles, septa, and pharynx before the larval settlement on the aboral end.
Lobed Brain Coral Characteristics