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Corallium rubrum:   (click for more)

Corallium rubrum:   (click for more)

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Synonyms
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  • Madrepora rubra  Linnaeus, 1758
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  • Isis nobilis  Pallas, 1766
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  • Gorgonia nobilis  Linnaeus, 1789
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  • Corallium rubrum  Lamarck, 1816
    FAO Names
    En - Sardinia coral, Fr - Corail Sardaigne, Sp - Coral Cerdeña.
    3Alpha Code: COL     Taxonomic Code: 6190100301
    Diagnostic Features
    Rigid colonies that may brach in all directions, giving a bushy shape. Calyces short and hemispherical distributed on the branches. Expanded polyps in living colonies are white, transparent, and with eight tentacles having fine pinnules, without sclerites. Polyps are retracted within calices once corals have been captured. Calcareous spicules (sclerites) from the crust, radially simmetricall, are warty with a short-stick shape.  Colour: often dark red, sometimes and rarelly pink or even white. 
    Geographical Distribution

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    Western and Eastern Mediterranean: from Greece and Tunisia to the the Straits of Gibraltar including Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Eastern Atlantic: Portugal, Morocco, Canary and Cape Verd Islands.
    Habitat and Biology
    A rocky bottom species inhabiting depths with weak luminositymainly between 20-200 m depth.At their shallowest depth range distribution, it is characteristic of the Corallium rubrum facies in the biocenosis of semidark caves (Pérès and Picard, 1964). Coral exploitation is progressively restricting their occurrence at the deeper range of their bathymetric distribution. C. rubrum is an slow growing (a few centimetres per year) and long living species.Diet based on small zooplankton organisms captured with the help of the polyps tentacles.C. rubrum populations are infested by a variety of endobiotic boring sponges.
    Size
    Some colonies attaining 20 cm hight. The base of the largest specimens can attain to 3 cm of diameter. An intensive exploitation reduced, however, the maximum size of colonnies.
    Interest to Fisheries
    Captured both dragging the bottom with a wooden cross provided with rope mops and by diving. The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 26 5 t. The countries with the largest catches were Spain (6 9 t) and Italy (3 9 t).
    The red coral is famous because of the use of its calcified axis for jewellery.
    Local Names
    Catalan : corall ,  corall roig .
    English : red coral ,  noble coral .
    French : corail rouge .
    Spanish : coral rojo .
    Remarks
    The genus Corallium is widely represented by a variety of species (27) distributed in tropical and subtropical waters. 5 of these species can be found in Atlantic waters, while only Corallium rubrum is distributed in the Mediterranean. The other Mediterranean gorgonians are distinguished of Corallium rubrum because they are more or less flexible (i.e. the sea fans with semi- rigid horned axis). Only one species, Isidella elongata, have a calcified axis, although this species is white in colour and inhabits deep-bathyal muddy bottoms. Other Corallium from Atlantic waters differ of C.rubrum by their colour and the shape of sclerites.
    Bibliography
    Cicogna, F. & R. Cattaneo-Vietti1993 Red corals in the Mediterranean Sea. Art, history and science. Massa Lubrense. Roma. 263 pp.
    Fischer, W. & M.L. Bauchot.1987FICHES FAO d'identification des especes pour les besoins de la Pêche. Méditerraneé et Mer Noire (zone de Pêche 37. Révision 1). Vol. I Invertebrés. Rome, FAO 766 pp.
    Pérès, J.M. & J. Picard1964 Nouveau manuel de bionomie benthique de la mer Méditerranée. Recueil des Travaux de la Station Marine d'Endoume. 47(31): 1-137.
    Santangelo, G., Abbiati, M., Giannini, F. & Cicogna, F.1993Red coral fishing trends in the western Mediterranean Sea during the period 1981-1991. Scientia Marina. 57: 139-143.
     
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