[Coral-List] Zoanthid (Paltythoa caribaeorum) overgrowth of corals
Jan-Willem van Bochove
jvb at coralcayconservation.com
Fri Mar 7 15:44:43 EST 2008
I've noticed that P. caribaeorum, a colonial zoanthid which forms extensive
mats, is overtopping and smothering a large variety of scleractinian corals
in shallow reef environments in Tobago.
P. caribaeorum is an aggressive, fast growing and toxic zoanthid which seems
to stop at nothing and I have yet to see any significant predation on the
species. In a small, sheltered bay where most of our observations were made,
it forms the dominant substrate with over 75% cover in the shallows (2-5m).
We have also seen it overtopping massive corals in deeper waters.
I was wondering if anyone has or knows of any recent research done on the
zoanthid or has noticed its abundance elsewhere on such a scale. Other than
a paper presented at the ICRS of 1981 in Manila by Suchanek and Green, I
have not come across any literature dealing with inter-specific competition
Images of the zoanthid overgrowing corals can be found on -
Any feedback is appreciated.
Suchanek T.H., and Green, D.J., 1981. Interspecific Competition Between
Palythoa Caribaeorum and Other Sessile Invertebrates on St.Croix Reefs, U.S.
Virgin Islands. Proceedings of the Fourth International Coral Reef
Symposium, Manila, Vol. 2.
Jan-Willem van Bochove MSc
Chief Technical Advisor
Coral Cay Conservation Ltd
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