Photo credit: David Obura
Smooth Cauliflower Coral, Stylophora pistillata, is listed as ‘NEAR THREATENED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. Sometimes referred to as the Tramp Coral, due to the tendency of the larvae to attach to floating objects on which they travel hundreds of kilometres, this species ranges widely in the Indo-West Pacific.
The principal threat to the world’s corals is the rise in sea temperature associated with global climate change. This leads to coral bleaching, where the symbiotic algae are expelled, leaving the corals weak and vulnerable. Climate change is also expected to increase ocean acidification and result in a greater frequency of extreme weather events. This is in addition to the localised threats from the aquarium trade, pollution, destructive fishing practices, invasive species, human development, and other activities.
Smooth Cauliflower Coral is listed on Appendix II of CITES, which means that trade in this species should be carefully regulated. It also occurs in several Marine Protected Areas across its range. One of the main priorities now is to conduct further research into its ecology, population biology, threats and recovery options.
To learn more about Smooth Cauliflower Coral, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.