MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Devonshire cup coral (Caryophyllia (Caryophyllia) smithii)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

A solitary hard coral, up to 2.5 cm in diameter, very rarely occurring in clusters of two to four. The polyp has less than 80 translucent tentacles with small but distinct terminal knobs. The calcified cup-shaped skeleton (corallum) has smooth-edged projecting septa and is usually broader than high. Colour is very variable ranging from white, pink, orange, red to green. The disc usually has a contrasting zigzag ring pattern around the mouth.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found from Shetland, north eastern England, the south west, Wales, Ireland and north western Scotland.

Global distribution

Abundant around south west Europe and the Mediterranean.

Habitat

Sublittoral on rocks or shell and artificial structures to a depth of at least 200 m. Can sometimes be found on the shore in shaded places and deep pools.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Stony solitary coral with a calcareous exoskeleton.
  • Up to 2.5 cm in diameter and height with less than 80 slender tapered translucent tentacles and each with a prominent spherical swelling at the terminal end.
  • Calcified cup-shaped corallum has a smooth-edged projecting septa.

Additional information

Manuel (1988) states that the Devonshire cup coral has two forms; a shallow water form (Caryophyllia smithii var. smithii) that can be found in waters up to 100 m deep and a deep water form (Caryophyllia smithii var. clavus) that is found in water >50-1000 m deep. The shape of the corallum is distinctly different between the two forms, the deep water form being smaller with a narrow base, but the two forms are otherwise similar in general structure (Manuel, 1988).

Caryophyllia inornata is very similar and co-occurs in some locations. Young specimens of Caryophyllia smithii are usually six-rayed and may be virtually indistinguishable from Caryophyllia inornata (Manuel, 1983).

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Bell, J.J. & Turner, J.R., 2000. Factors influencing the density and morphometrics of the cup coral Caryophyllia smithii in Lough Hyne. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 80, 437-441.

  2. Bell, J.J., 2002. Morphological responses of a cup coral to environmental gradients. Sarsia, 87, 319-330.

  3. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  4. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  5. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  6. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  7. Hiscock, K. & Howlett, R. 1976. The ecology of Caryophyllia smithii Stokes & Broderip on south-western coasts of the British Isles. In Underwater Research (ed. E.A. Drew, J.N. Lythgoe & J.D. Woods), pp. 319-344. London: Academic Press.

  8. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. ed., 1999. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. CD-ROM Edition. Ulster Museum and The Marine Conservation Society, Belfast and Ross-on-Wye., Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication no. 280.]

  9. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  10. Manuel, R.L., 1983. The Anthozoa of the British Isles - a colour guide, 2nd edn. Ross-on-Wye: Marine Conservation Society.

  11. Manuel, R.L., 1988. British Anthozoa. London: Academic Press.[Synopses of the British Fauna, no. 18.]

  12. Tendal, O.S. & Nielsen, C., 1997. The Devonshire cup-coral (Caryophyllia smithii) - New to the Danish fauna Flora og Fauna, 103, 7-9.

  13. Tranter, P.R.G., Nicholson, D.N. & Kinchington, D., 1982. A description of spawning and post-gastrula development of the cool temperate coral, Caryophyllia smithi. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 62, 845-854.

  14. Wilson, J.B., 1975. The distribution of the coral Caryophyllia smithii S. & B. on the Scottish continental shelf. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 55, 611-625.

  15. Wilson, J.B., 1976. Attachment of the coral Caryophyllia smithii S. & B. to tubes of the polychaete Ditrupa arietina (Müller) and other substrates. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 56, 291-303.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Gregory, P. 2008. Caryophyllia (Caryophyllia) smithii Devonshire cup coral. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1668

Last Updated: 17/04/2008