Photo credit: Dave Burdick
Blue Coral, Heliopora coerulea, is listed as ‘VULNERABLE’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. Named for its permanently blue skeleton, which makes it popular in the curio, jewelry and aquarium trades, Blue Coral is very widespread in the Indo-Pacific region, but only occurs in limited areas on extremely shallow reefs.
In addition to the threat from over-collection, Blue Coral is particularly susceptible to the rise in sea temperature associated with global climate change. This leads to coral bleaching, where the symbiotic algae are expelled, leaving the coral weak and vulnerable to an increasing variety of harmful diseases. More localised threats include pollution, destructive fishing practices, invasive species, human development, and other activities.
In addition to being listed on Appendix II of CITES, which makes it an offence to trade Blue Coral internationally without a permit, this species falls within several Marine Protected Areas. To conserve Blue Coral, studies into various aspects of its taxonomy, biology and ecology, including assessing threats and potential recovery techniques, have been recommended.
To learn more about Blue 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.