purple branching Porites
Stephen C Jameson
sjameson at coralseas.com
Tue Jul 8 08:52:17 EDT 1997
Dear E. McRae,
Thanks for your interesting question regarding the mysterious purple
I'll put my response out to the list as this would make a very
interesting topic for graduate work in coral taxonomy.
I ran across this specimen in only one location during my field work. I
took a dug-out canoe from Carrie Bow Cay and sailed seaward for what
seemed like an eternity (I guess it was because I was bailing out the
canoe with a coffee can most of the time). It was out at Glovers Reef
(Northwest Cay) in a very shallow water (about 15 cm) calm leeward
environment where I found these specimens. I also collected specimens
that were pale yellow in the same area - with the same growth form.
At first I thought I had Porites branneri because of the purple color and
flat shape but after looking at the corallite characters I noticed the
columella tubercle which P. branneri does not have. I didn't think they
were P. furcata because in Belize they prefer a more high energy reef
Back at the Smithsonian, I did a multivariate discriminate analysis on 10
of these specimens and found that they fall closer to Porites porites
when looking at corallite characters.
Here are the possibilities that cross my mind:
1. These specimens could be juvenile P. porites as they have a flattened
base with just small projecting fingers;
2. They could be older P. porites with a unique growth form shaped by
the very shallow and calm water environment.
3. They could be a new species. It would be interesting to do
electrophoresis or other genetic techniques on them.
Questions for you:
1. What type of environment did you find your specimens in?
2. I would be interested to know if anyone else out there has run across
Thanks again for the question. I look forward to hearing from you.
>I read your comments in coral-list and was curious about the purple
>Porites (also in Belize). Usually this is a very small colony, ie often
>just little stubs projecting above the sand; but sometimes a small colony
>is seen. The largest colonies I've ever observed are no more than 0.5m in
>diameter; most are considerably smaller, unlike the pale green branching
>Porites. The Kaplan guide (1982) calls it P. furcata (a rare purple phase);
>But then why are the green colonies so much bigger if it is the same sp?
>The Siwa-ban Foundation
>sbf at btl.net
Dr. Stephen C. Jameson, President
Coral Seas Inc. - Integrated Coastal Zone Management
4254 Hungry Run Road, The Plains, VA 20198-1715 USA
Office: 703-754-8690, Fax: 703-754-9139
Email: sjameson at coralseas.com
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