Host-related Morphological Variation of Dwellings Inhabited by the Crab Domecia acanthophora in the Corals Acropora palmata and Millepora complanata (Southern Caribbean)

A team of researchers from Naturalis Biodiversity Center, ANEMOON Foundation, and colleagues from various intitutes, performed several bodiversity surveys in the Dutch Caribbean (Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Eustatius). These expeditions were organized by professor Bert Hoeksema, who is the coral expert at Naturalis and honorary professor of tropical marine biodiversity at the University of Groningen. The team discovered, amongst others, some new associations for Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus spp.) as symbionts within different coral species. These worms live partly inside the coral and appeared to be able survive when the host coral becomes covered by encrusting animals, who then serves as a secondary host. Surprisingly, most discoveries were made in very shallow water (less than 2 m depth), where scuba divers may spend less time when compared to greater depths.

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