Ricordea florida, a type of coral, is part of the Ricordeidae family and the order Corallimorpharia.
Don’t let the name ‘coral’ fool you though. They’re also known as False Corals.
Ricordea florida corals are famous in saltwater aquariums thanks to their bright colors and how they glow under UV light.
What Does Ricordea florida Look Like?
When you look at Ricordea florida, you’ll notice it’s a small, round shape, like a cylinder. It doesn’t have a skeleton like us, but it has an internal structure that’s like other corals of the Scleractinia order.
One end of the Ricordea florida coral is flat, working like a foot, while the other end has an oral disk acting like a mouth or sometimes more than one mouth.
What Are the Special Features of Ricordea florida?
Around the mouths of Ricordea florida, there are short, round tentacles. These have cnidocytes, which are cells that can sting. Inside those cells are neurotoxins that can paralyze.
The Ricordea florida coral uses this sting to catch its food or to keep away its enemies. But don’t worry, this coral’s sting is not as strong as that of most other corals.
What Color Is Ricordea florida?
Ricordea florida can be as big as 7.5 cm across. Its fleshy body and tentacles come in many colors like purple, orange, green, blue, and yellow.
The tips of the tentacles and the mouth can be different colors too.
What color the Ricordea florida coral is can change based on where it lives, how deep the water is, the temperature, the time of year, and other things in its environment.
Where Can You Find Ricordea florida?
This coral likes to live deep inside reefs, often in shallow water, rocky areas, and pools. You can find them alone or in small groups.
Ricordea florida corals are found in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
What Does Ricordea florida Eat?
Ricordea florida has a special kind of algae living inside it called zooxanthellae. This algae makes oxygen and sugar through photosynthesis, which the coral uses.
The algae also eat waste from the Ricordea florida coral, especially phosphorus and nitrogen. But the coral doesn’t just rely on the algae for food.
Ricordea florida coral also catches tiny animals like zooplankton or fish with its tentacles. It can also absorb organic matter dissolved in the water.
How Does Ricordea florida Reproduce?
Ricordea florida has two ways to reproduce. One is asexual, which means it doesn’t need a mate. It can split itself in two along its mouth, making a clone of itself.
Or, Ricordea florida can release tiny pieces from its foot that can grow into a new coral. This is called laceration.
What About Sexual Reproduction?
The other way Ricordea florida can reproduce is sexually. This means it needs a mate.
Ricordea florida produces a larva called a planula. Once the planula settles on the seabed, it grows into a new coral.
What Is the Life Cycle of Ricordea florida?
- First, the Ricordea florida coral either splits itself or releases a piece from its foot to create a new coral. Or, it mates to produce a larva.
- Next, the new coral or larva settles on the seabed.
- Then, it grows into a new Ricordea florida.