|Grooved brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis|
Grooved brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis
24 genera, the most common being:
Brain coral (Diploria sp. ) is a collection of species of coral characterized by the spheroid shape of their colonies. Brain corals are found in warm-water coral reefs in all the world's oceans. Brain corals are part of the phylum Cnidaria, in a class called Anthozoa or "sea flowers." The life span of brain coral is 200 years.
Brain corals use their tentacles to catch food during the day. At night, the brain corals use their tentacles for protection by wrapping them over the grooves on their surface.
These corals get their common name from the grooves and channels on their surfaces that look like the folds of the human brain. There's more than one kind of "brain coral"—several species from two different families of corals share the name—but all help build coral reefs.
Diet: nutrients provided by algae growing in their tissues; small, drifting animals.
Size: colonies can grow 6 or more feet (1.8 m) high.
Range: Red Sea through the Indo-Pacific to southern Japan .
Conservation Notes: Coral reefs around the world are in danger. Silt (fine soil) smothers coral when it washes off the land from farm fields, roads and building sites. More towns and resorts near shore mean more sewage, oil and chemicals in the water.
Competition: While staghorn corals grow rapidly to gain new territory, slow-growing brain corals rely on brawn. They hold their ground by being solid and strong enough to withstand the storms that pound more delicate corals to rubble.