Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Other forms of asexual reproduction

Corals may reproduce by fragmentation.  This method is most common within fast growing branching corals like Acropora.  Sections of branch that break off due to mechanical forces such as wave action or cyclone damage may settle on the bottom and continue to grow, producing new colonies that are genetically identical to the parent.

Fragmentation by wave action is a common asexual reproduction strategy in branching corals like the genus Acropora, but it also occurs in the mushroom corals - the genus Zoopilus (pictured).

Some genera may reproduce through fragmentation where the breakup of the colony is controlled internally, by the coral itself.  This is termed autotomy.  One of the best known examples is that of Diaseris, which may split into a number of sections producing genetically identical, smaller, daughter colonies.

The genus Diaseris employs a self controlled fragmentation strategy known as autotomy. Not surprisingly Diaseris often forms a carpet of whole and partial skeletons.