Substratum preferences and planulae settling of two red sea alcyonaceans: Xenia macrospiculata Gohar and Parerythropodium fulvum fulvum (Forskl)

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Abstract

The settling behaviour and substratum preferences of the planulae of the Red Sea soft corals Xenia macrospiculata Gohar and Parerythropodium fulvum fulvum (Forskl) were examined in the laboratory. The planulae of the two species have a short pelagic phase and they tend to settle immediately upon leaving the parent colonies. Mucous secretion is used by the larvae for crawling and adhering to the substratum. They exhibit an aggregated pattern of settlement. The developing polyps are found in depressions or pits of the substratum. The planulae preferentially settle on rough substrata and avoid smooth surfaces. They search for substrata covered with an organic coating, composed of turf or crustose coralline algae. Such substrata create better conditions for larval settlement and metamorphosis. The planulae of P. f. fulvum exhibit a striking preference for upside-down attachment on undersides of the substrata, while Xenia macrospiculata utilizes both substratum faces for settlement. Light intensity seems insignificant in determining attachment sites. The findings of the experiments correspond well with the distributional patterns of juveniles of the two species as found in the natural environment. The specific requirements for settling of both species increase their chances of successful development and thus enhance their survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume83
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1984

Keywords

  • Octocorallia
  • Red Sea
  • larval ecology
  • planulae settling

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