The Open Brain Coral is a unique and brightly colored underwater creature. Its scientific name is Trachyphyllia geoffroyi.
Open Brain Coral is part of a family of corals called Merulinidae. It’s special because it’s the only one of its kind in the Trachyphyllia group.
You can find Open Brain Coral in many parts of the Indo-Pacific.
How Does the Open Brain Coral Look?
The Open Brain Coral can live by itself or it can form a group with other corals. It’s a small coral and it doesn’t grow more than 20 cm in diameter.
Open Brain Coral has a unique shape that looks like valleys separated by walls. When many corals live together, these valleys can hold many individual polyps, which are small parts of the coral.
Some valleys can look like an hourglass or they can be very lobed, which means they have many curves or turns. The coral usually looks the same on both sides, which is called bilateral symmetry.
During the day, the Open Brain Coral closes up and covers itself with a mantle, a layer that extends beyond its skeleton. If something bothers it, it can pull this layer back.
The polyps and the mantle are really fleshy and soft.
The Open Brain Coral can be many different colors like blue, green, yellow, and brown. They often have very bright colors.
What Lives with The Open Brain Coral?
The Open Brain Coral plays host to a type of crab called the gall crab, or Lithoscaptus semperi.
This crab lives with the Open Brain Coral and they both help each other survive in the ocean.
Where Can You Find Open Brain Coral?
The Open Brain Coral is found in many parts of the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea all the way to New Caledonia. It can live in water as deep as 40 meters.
You won’t often find Open Brain Coral directly in coral reef communities. Instead, it likes to live on sandy reef slopes, around big islands, and in lagoons.
Places Where Open Brain Coral Is Commonly Found
- Sandy reef slopes,
- Big islands, and
Open Brain Coral likes to live near other free-living corals. It’s not common to see a lot of Open Brain Corals together.
Most of the time, we only see large colonies of Open Brain Coral in marine protected areas.
What Are the Threats to Open Brain Coral?
The Open Brain Coral is listed as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN because of lost habitats and too much harvesting for the aquarium trade.
The biggest exporter of Open Brain Coral is Indonesia. In 2005, Indonesia exported over 60000 Open Brain Corals for use in aquariums.
Other dangers to the Open Brain Coral include disease, acidification, and severe storms. These threats can harm the coral and make it harder for it to survive in the ocean.
What Are the Features of Open Brain Coral?
The Open Brain Coral has a shape that looks like an hourglass and it can be up to 80 millimeters long with one to three separate mouths.
Large colonies of Open Brain Coral are not common. The valleys of the coral have large regular septa and paliform lobes and a large columella of tangled spines, which are parts of the coral’s structure.
At night, the Open Brain Coral’s tentacles come out from the expanded oral disc inside the mantle. The mouth of the coral is about 10 millimeters across.
What Are the Colors of Open Brain Coral?
The polyps and mantles of Open Brain Coral are often brightly colored. They can be yellow, brown, blue, or green.
These vibrant colors make the Open Brain Coral stand out in the ocean.
Where Does Open Brain Coral Live?
Open Brain Coral lives in between reefs and on soft ground around big islands. It’s often found with other free-living corals.
Large colonies of Open Brain Coral are only found in certain protected, shallow areas around islands.
How Common Is Open Brain Coral?
Open Brain Coral is not common on reefs, but it’s often found around big islands and some areas between reefs.
This makes Open Brain Coral a special sight for divers and ocean explorers.
Open Brain Coral Characteristics