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Madracis pharensis

(Heller, 1868)

This is usually an azooxanthellate species in the Mediterranean, but usually zooxanthellate on the American coast. Colonies are encrusting or nodular. Corallites are compact and slightly polygonal in outline. Septa are in two, alternating, cycles. Ten primary septa are fused with the columella. The second cycle is shorter but well developed.

Colour: Red, pink, grey or green, partly depending on the presence of zooxanthellae.

Habitat: Deep water.

Abundance: Rare except in caves.

Similar species:

Taxonomic note: Taxonomic and distribution note: This species is poorly defined. It has been tentatively recorded from the Pacific coast of Mexico. Azooxanthellate colonies are sometimes called Madracis luciphilia. Source reference: Veron (2000). Taxonomic reference: Zibrowius (1980).

Map displaying probable distribution of species. Points indicate recorded sightings from OBIS.
Madracis pharensis.  Caribbean.  M. pharensis (below) has similar corallite structure to Stephanocoenia michelini (above) but the former is much smaller.  Paul Humann.

Madracis pharensis.Caribbean.M. pharensis (below) has similar corallite structure to Stephanocoenia michelini (above) but the former is much smaller.Paul Humann.

Madracis pharensis.  Caribbean.  This species is commonly seen in caves, where it is azooxanthellate.  Paul Humann.

Madracis pharensis.Caribbean.This species is commonly seen in caves, where it is azooxanthellate.Paul Humann.

Madracis pharensis.  Caribbean.  This species is commonly seen in caves, where it is azooxanthellate.  Paul Humann.

Madracis pharensis.Caribbean.This species is commonly seen in caves, where it is azooxanthellate.Paul Humann.

Madracis pharensis.  Mediterranean.  Colony with polyps extended.  Maoz Fine.

Madracis pharensis.Mediterranean.Colony with polyps extended.Maoz Fine.

Madracis pharensis.  South-eastern USA.  Showing corallites.

Madracis pharensis.South-eastern USA.Showing corallites.