Friday 19 June 2015

Maze Coral

Image: FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Meandrina meandrites
Some corals just want you to GET LOST!

The Maze Coral is a hefty, clunky, chunky coral from the Caribbean. They can reach up to a metre (3.3 ft) across and are covered in an amazing array of meandering walls. That's why they're called Meandrina meandrites!

Image: Nick Hobgood
The polyps are nestled in the flat spaces between the walls and will only come up and extend their feeding tentacles at night. Each polyp creates its own little bit of the wall around itself, known as a corallite.

In many other species, the polyps create very neat and tidy, cup-shaped corallite to reside in. These corals end up looking like an orderly collection of circles. In Maze Corals, the circles aren't all that circular in the first place, and then they kind of join up here and there to create their labyrinthine effect.

We mighty humans can just look down on the Maze, so it's no trouble for us. And anything small enough to wander its endless paths can just swim away so...



Anonymous said...

How rude of them to not evolve a discrete start and finish.

Joseph JG said...

Haha! Exactly. Maybe a pot of gold at the end, too.