Have you seen??Caribbean Coral-Open Brain Coral, Tales of the blue


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Scientific Name: Trachyphyllia geoffroyi
Common Name: Open Brain Coral



The Open Brain coral has a heavy conical base skeleton that is usually in the form of a pinched oval when viewed from the top. There are usually 2 or 3 large polyps which are red or green in color.  The red forms are usually from lower light environments than the green forms.  Tentacles are extended around the mouth during evening and night time.
Colonies are flabello-meandroid and free-living.  They are usually hourglass shaped, up to 80 millimeters in length with one to three separate mouths.  Large, fully flabello-meandroid colonies are uncommon.  Valleys have large regular septa and paliform lobes and a large columella of tangled spines.  Polyps are fleshy.  When tentacles are retracted during the day a large mantle extends well beyond the perimeter of the skeleton.  This retracts if disturbed.  At night tentacles in several rows are extended from the expanded oral disc inside the mantle.  The mouth is approximately 10 millimeters across.  Color:  Polyps, especially the mantles, are often brightly colored, usually yellow, brown, blue or green.

Open brain coral is not something that a lot of people have seen, or if they have seen open brain coral they don’t know it.  When many people think of open brain coral they think of the type that is not open and so they miss the open brain coral variant entirely.

Open brain coral is quite interesting to look at.  Generally, open brain coral has a conical base that has two or three polyps extending from it that are red or green.   The red open brain coral is generally found in lower light environments than the green open brain coral.  Depending on where you find open brain coral you may find it in a variety of colors including yellow, brown, and blue.  When you get up close to the open brain coral you will usually see tentacles around the mouth with the open brain coral mouth measuring as large as 10 millimeters.  The open brain coral feeds during the evening and night time.

Open Brain Coral Colony Size

The open brain coral often measures up to 80 millimeters in length and can have just one mouth or up to three separate mouths.  Open brain coral is not usually found in large colonies, instead it will be found with a mixture of other coral on reefs.  Open brain coral can be easily identified because it looks quite fleshy in parts and spiny on other parts .The tentacles of the open brain coral are retracted during the day and during this time the mantle will go outside of the skeleton and the open brain coral looks much different than it does at night.  If the open brain coral is disturbed in this state it will retract quickly to protect itself. The difference between open brain coral and closed brain coral is quite astonishing and can only be appreciated by seeing both states.

All coral, including open brain coral, is in danger of being extinct and because of this open brain coral is found very rarely on reefs and is becoming rare even in the inter-reef areas that brain coral was found in abundance in the past.

Open Brain Coral Ideal Living Conditions

Most of the time open brain coral will be found in areas that provide it with moderate to strong lighting.  Open brain coral also likes to be in areas where there is low water flow and seems to dwell in areas where temperatures range from 75 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

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