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Widespread Occurrence of a Rarely Known Association between the Hydrocorals Stylaster roseus and Millepora alcicornis at Bonaire, Southern Caribbean

1
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DISAT), University of Milan – Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza, 20126 Milan, Italy
2
MaRHE Center (Marine Research and High Education Center), Magoodhoo Island, 12030 Faafu Atoll, Maldives
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Molecular Invertebrate Systematics and Ecology Laboratory, Graduate School of Engineering and Science, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
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Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
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Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Biological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119992 Moscow, Russia
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Marine Genomic Biodiversity Laboratory, University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez, La Parguera, PR 00667, USA
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Ecosub, Berkenlaantje 2, 3956 DM Leersum, The Netherlands
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ANEMOON Foundation, P.O. Box 29, 2120 AA Bennekom, The Netherlands
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Taxonomy and Systematics Group, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
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Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 11103, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(6), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060218
Received: 14 May 2020 / Revised: 28 May 2020 / Accepted: 29 May 2020 / Published: 30 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity of Coral-Associated Fauna)
Among symbiotic associations, cases of pseudo-auto-epizoism, in which a species uses a resembling but not directly related species as substrate, are poorly documented in coral reef ecosystems. In the present study, we assessed the distribution of an association between the hydrocorals Stylaster roseus and Millepora alcicornis on about 50% of coral reef sites studied in Bonaire, southern Caribbean. Although previously thought to be uncommon, associations between the lace coral S. roseus and the fire coral M. alcicornis were observed at both the windward and leeward sides of Bonaire, mainly between 15 and 25 m depth, reaching a maximum occupation of 47 S. roseus colonies on a single M. alcicornis colony. Both species’ tissues did not show any signs of injuries, while an in-depth inspection of the contact points of their skeletons revealed that both partners can partially overgrow each other. How it is possible that S. roseus is able to settle on the stinging tissue of Millepora as well as how, by contrast, the latter may facilitate the lace coral by offering a certain degree of protection are questions that deserve further investigations. View Full-Text
Keywords: Caribbean Netherlands; fire corals; Hydrozoa; pseudo-auto-epizoism; stony corals; substrate; symbiosis Caribbean Netherlands; fire corals; Hydrozoa; pseudo-auto-epizoism; stony corals; substrate; symbiosis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Montano, S.; Reimer, J.D.; Ivanenko, V.N.; García-Hernández, J.E.; van Moorsel, G.W.N.M.; Galli, P.; Hoeksema, B.W. Widespread Occurrence of a Rarely Known Association between the Hydrocorals Stylaster roseus and Millepora alcicornis at Bonaire, Southern Caribbean. Diversity 2020, 12, 218. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060218

AMA Style

Montano S, Reimer JD, Ivanenko VN, García-Hernández JE, van Moorsel GWNM, Galli P, Hoeksema BW. Widespread Occurrence of a Rarely Known Association between the Hydrocorals Stylaster roseus and Millepora alcicornis at Bonaire, Southern Caribbean. Diversity. 2020; 12(6):218. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060218

Chicago/Turabian Style

Montano, Simone; Reimer, James D.; Ivanenko, Viatcheslav N.; García-Hernández, Jaaziel E.; van Moorsel, Godfried W.N.M.; Galli, Paolo; Hoeksema, Bert W. 2020. "Widespread Occurrence of a Rarely Known Association between the Hydrocorals Stylaster roseus and Millepora alcicornis at Bonaire, Southern Caribbean" Diversity 12, no. 6: 218. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12060218

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