New observations on the stony coral (Scleractinia, Milleporidae, and Stylasteridae) species of Belize (Central America) and Cozumel (Mexico)
Abstract:A total of 61 species and eight forms of stony corals (Scleractinia, Milleporidae, and Stylasteridae) are known from the shallow waters (0–30 m) of Belize (Central America) and 63 species and eight forms from Cozumel (Mexico), including 11 new records from Belize and five new records from Cozumel. Tubastraea coccinea in Belize and Cozumel, and the hydrocoral Millepora striata in Belize represent biogeographic range extensions. A total of 94% of the species of zooxanthellate Scleractinia were found at both locations, but only 58% of the species of azooxanthellate Scleractinia were found at both locations. About 94% of the zooxanthellate Scleractinian species known from the Caribbean have been found at Belize and 91% found at Cozumel, and 25% and 43% of the known shallow-water (0–30 m) azooxanthellate Scleractinia have been found at the two sites, respectively, suggesting that the zooxanthellate Scleractinia may be better sampled than the azooxanthellate Scleractinia. Several zooxanthellates differed notably in abundance between the two sites, and some species showed greater within-species morphological variation at Belize than Cozumel. The appearance and ecology of M. striata and the field identification of four plate-forming Agaricia species are included.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1999-01-01
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