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Blastomussa merleti

Wells, 1961

Colonies are phaceloid to plocoid, and consist of a few to large numbers of corallites. Corallites are less than 7 millimetres diameter. Septa are mostly in two cycles of which only the first reaches the columella. Septa have slightly serrated margins. Primary septa may be exsert. Columellae are poorly developed. Mantles, but not tentacles, are extended during the day and may form a continuous surface obscuring the underlying growth-form.

Colour: Commonly dark red with conspicuous green oral discs. May also be pink, orange, brown or uniform dark grey with white margins to primary septa.

Habitat: Reef environments, especially where the water is turbid.

Abundance: Uncommon.

Similar species: Parasimplastrea sheppardi

Taxonomic note: Taxonomic note: Red Sea colonies are mostly plocoid and have been described as a separate species (Blastomussa loyae Head, 1978). There are, however, no consistent differences between these colonies and plocoid colonies in other regions. Source reference: Veron (2000). Taxonomic references: Wells (1961), Chevalier (1975), Veron and Pichon (1980). Additional identification guides: Veron (1986), Sheppard and Sheppard (1991), Nishihira and Veron (1995), Coles (1996).

Map displaying probable distribution of species. Points indicate recorded sightings from OBIS.
Blastomussa merleti.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Surface detail.  Ed Lovell.

Blastomussa merleti.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Surface detail.Ed Lovell.

Blastomussa merleti.  Philippines.  Variation in corallite structure and colour.  Charlie Veron.

Blastomussa merleti.Philippines.Variation in corallite structure and colour.Charlie Veron.

Blastomussa merleti.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Variation in corallite structure and colour.  Len Zell.

Blastomussa merleti.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Variation in corallite structure and colour.Len Zell.

Blastomussa merleti.  Maldive Islands, Indian Ocean.  Variation in corallite structure and colour.  Neville Coleman.

Blastomussa merleti.Maldive Islands, Indian Ocean.Variation in corallite structure and colour.Neville Coleman.

Blastomussa merleti.  Red Sea.  The typical appearance of a large colony.  Charlie Veron.

Blastomussa merleti.Red Sea.The typical appearance of a large colony.Charlie Veron.

Blastomussa merleti.  Red Sea.  Surface detail.  Mary Stafford-Smith.

Blastomussa merleti.Red Sea.Surface detail.Mary Stafford-Smith.

Blastomussa merleti.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing corallites.

Blastomussa merleti.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing corallites.

Blastomussa merleti.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing colony shape.

Blastomussa merleti.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing colony shape.

Blastomussa merleti.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing corallites.

Blastomussa merleti.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing corallites.

Blastomussa merleti.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing corallite detail.

Blastomussa merleti.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing corallite detail.

Blastomussa merleti.  South Africa.  Showing colony surface.

Blastomussa merleti.South Africa.Showing colony surface.