Drupella vs Acanthaster feeding scars

Robyn Cumming Robyn.Cumming at usp.ac.fj
Fri Mar 24 19:35:20 EST 2000

Hi Coral Listers

I am responding to Gustaf Mamangkey’s query about whether it is possible to distinguish between Drupella and Acanthaster feeding scars. I have put an article on this topic, with comparative photos, in the next issue of Reef Encounter, out in July. 

The answer is yes, it is often possible. The algal cover is uniform on Acanthaster scars, because they are inflicted at one point in time (i.e. result from one feeding event), and graded on Drupella scars, because they are inflicted over a period of time, ranging from days to months (while a group of Drupella occupies the colony).

Regarding Forde (1992) – this was a paper published in the proceedings of a workshop on Drupella in 1991. Forde found that Drupella cornus were attracted to experimentally broken coral fragments, i.e. higher density on damaged than undamaged corals in the experiment. These corals were not devoid of live flesh, the damage was skeletal breakage. 


Robyn Cumming
Lecturer in Biology
School of Pure and Applied Sciences
The University of the South Pacific
PO Box 1168

ph:    + 679 21 2455
fax:   + 679 31 5601 or 30 2548

email:  robyn.cumming at usp.ac.fj
web:    http://www.usp.ac.fj/biology/staff/robyn.html

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