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Fungia scutaria

Fungia scutaria is a species of mushroom coral in the family Fungiidae. It is found in the Indo-Pacific oceanic region. It occurs on upper reef slopes especially where there is considerable water movement. It is typically found on sand beds or coral fragments.

It lives as a single individual rather than as a colony and is detached from the seabed. It has an elongated shape and can grow quite large. The polyp can be up to 6.7 inches long and is embedded in a cup-shaped hollow known as a corallite, surrounded by calcareous (calcium carbonate) material, and lined by narrow ribs known as septae, each having a tall tentacle-like lobe.

The ribs continue outside the corallite, where they are known as costae, bearing rows of tiny spines. The underside of the coral bears a scar resulting from its detachment from the seabed as a juvenile. Color varies, and can be brown, yellowish or blue. The polyp has a central, slit-like mouth and a small number of short, tapering tentacles.

This species is a carnivore and eats plankton, shrimp and fish, catching them with its tentacles. F. scutaria is also a hermaphrodite, ejecting eggs and sperm through the mouth. After fertilization, the larvae settle on the seabed and undergo metamorphosis. Juveniles attach to substrate material on the seabed and begin feeding. After they become detached at a later stage they drift around the seabed. The polyps feed at day and night.

Fungia scutaria


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