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Millepora alcicornis

Millepora alcicornis is a species of the family Milleporidae, class Hydrozoa, phylum Cnidaria. It is a colonial fire coral (although not a true coral as those belonging in class Anthozoa) with a calcareous skeleton. Embedded in the skeleton are several polyps that are interconnected by a system of canals. The polyps release calcareous material called coenosteum. The species has many tiny pores on its skeletal surface; its name Millepora, meaning “many pores”, is based upon this feature. Despite the presence of the pores, the skeleton appears smooth. There are three major types of pores: gastropores, dactylopores, and ampullae. The gastropores contain the feeding polyps called gastrozoids. The dactylopores contain the dactylozoids, which are stinging tentacles that the species uses for food capture and defensive strategy against predators. Symbiotic microalgae, zooxanthellae, may be present in the pores. While the sea ginger provides habitat for the microalgae, the microalgae, in turn, through photosynthesis provide most of the energy requirements (about 75%) of the sea ginger. It is found in shallow water coral reefs where it feeds on plankton. It can sting the tongue like a ginger, thus, the species has also been referred to as the sea ginger.

References

  1. Venomous Corals: The Fire Corals by Eric Borneman – Reefkeeping.com. (2019). Retrieved from Reefkeeping.com website: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-11/eb/

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