人类对双色的生物有着特殊的好感,因此当我们看到双色调的珊瑚时,就会特别喜欢。其中一些标本是由于遗传因素,而其他标本,我们认为是同一物种的两个幼体栖息在同一地点进而合并成一个珊瑚嵌合体形成的。

 

我们见过不少双色的飞盘珊瑚,但是最近SA Coralfarm在巴厘岛展示的一个母珊瑚令我们惊奇。我们一般认为珊瑚嵌合体是一种罕见的情况。大多数LPS珊瑚确实是偶然形成,但飞盘珊瑚却是受生物力学的影响而形成。

 

我们熟悉的飞盘珊瑚是独立生存的,它们的嵌合体只是这种有趣的珊瑚群的第二个生命阶段。我们最近在一项关于Truncatoflabellum的生命阶段的研究中了解到,有些珊瑚群体的生命周期完全由无性繁殖或有性繁殖来划分。

 

也就是说,蕈珊瑚属(Fungia)、太阳蕈珊瑚属(Heliofungia)和币蕈珊瑚(Cycloseris)等石芝珊瑚的第一个生命阶段始于附着的息肉,称为珊瑚茎。这些附着的息肉只能进行无性繁殖,然后发芽成为独立的息肉、重新生长,这样重复数次。

 

 

此外,我们都知道长须飞盘珊瑚生长非常密集,有时会完全占据某些栖息地。根据记录,在帕劳的一些泻湖中就充满了辐形太阳蕈珊瑚(Heliofungia actiniformis),即长须飞盘珊瑚。因此,当您将这些珊瑚聚集到某些环境中,它们更有可能发生嵌合,而且嵌合体中附着的珊瑚茎一生可以长出不止一个独立的嵌合体息肉。

 

关于飞盘珊瑚的这两个细节大概解释了为什么双色的飞盘珊瑚似乎更集中在某一栖息地,也更清楚地说明了珊瑚为何如此有趣。非常感谢SA Coralfarm的加尔文·克罗格(Calvin Krog)与我们分享这些美丽的照片。

 

 

双色的飞盘珊瑚嵌合体

 

原文:

Humans have a special affinity for living things that are bicolored, and we especially love it when we see striking two-tone coloration in corals. For some of these specimens, genetics are at work, and for others we collectively believe that some form of chimerism is being formed, where two larvae from the same species settle onto the same spot and merge into one coral. 

 

We’ve seen plenty of bicolored plate and disc corals before, but a recent motherlode demonstrated by SA Coralfarm in Bali has us scratching our heads. You see, we tend to think of coral chimeras as being a somewhat rare occurrence, and this is true for many of the LPS but with disc corals, there are some different biological mechanics at play. 

Chimera Heliofungia, a fusion of two long tentacle plate corals

 

The plate and disc corals we are familiar with as free living saucers are just the second life stage of this intriguing group of corals. As we learned in a recent study of the fascinating life stages of Truncatoflabellum, there are some coral groups that have their life cycles divided strictly by asexual or sexual reproduction. 

 

That is to say, the first life stage of Fungiids including Fungia, Heliofungia, and Cycloseris, begins as an attached polyp called and anthocauli. These attached polyps can only reproduce asexually, budding off free living polyps and then regrowing them and repeating the process several times. 

 

Furthermore, long tentacle plates are known to occur at super high densities, sometimes completely dominating certain habitats with some records of lagoons in Palau being filled with just Heliofungia actiniformis, the long tentacle plate coral. So when you crowd these corals into certain environments chimeras are more likely to occur – and, the chimeras of attached anthocauli can grow more than one free living chimera polyp over their lifetime. 

 

These two details of plate corals offer some possible explanation for why bicolored plate corals seem to have been found in some concentration, and it just sheds even more light on why corals are so darn interesting. Big thanks to Calvin Krog of SA Coralfarm for sharing the catalog of his plate coral chimeras. 

 

Tags bicolor bicolor coral chimera fundgiid fungia heliofungia Heliofungia actiniformis