coralist: coral colors

Doug Fenner d.fenner at
Tue Jun 16 21:50:30 EDT 1998

   I've noticed that Porites branneri in the Caribbean is bright blue when
viewed in sunlight, but if you take a picture with flash, it turns into a
pinkish-purple (as seen on p. 93 of Paul Humann's "Reef Coral
Identification").  If you take a photo in natural light, it looks a very
dark blue.  Also, there are a few individual Mussa cubensis (traditionally
called Scolymia cubensis- see Fenner, 1993) that are a brilliant red-orange
(flourescent?), but when you take a photo they come out looking brown.
Same pigment seems to be in radial stripes on some Mussa angulosa and what
has been traditionally been called Scolymia lacera but which are single
polyps of Mussa angulosa.  I would guess that these colors would be left
after bleaching- anybody know?  -Doug
Fenner, D. P.  1993.  Species distinctions among several Caribbean stony
corals.  Bull. Mar. Sci. 53: 1099-1116.

Douglas Fenner, Ph.D.
Coral Taxonomist
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB No 3
Townsville MC
Queensland 4810
phone 07 4753 4241
e-mail: d.fenner at

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