CLASSIFICATION OF CORALLIUM : RED CORAL
PHYLUM :- COELENTRATA OR CNIDARIA (Tissue grade, diploblastic and acoelomate. )
CLASS :- ANTHOZOA OR ACTINOZOA (Only polypoid generation. sedentary, solitary, colonial.)
SUB-CLASS :- OCTOCORALLIA (Polyps with 8 tentacles, bioluminescent.)
ORDER :- GORGONACEA (Horny corals, polyps short not reaching up to base.)
SUB-ORDER :- SCLERAXONIA (With axial spicule)
FAMILY :- CORALLIDAE (Sol id axis of calcareous spicules cemented by calcium carbonate.)
GENUS :- Corallium (Red coral)
It is found in Mediterranean, Eastern Atlantic and off the coast of Japan, Africa and Italy. Most abundant is the Indo-Pacific ocean especially the Malay Archipelago.
HABIT AND HABITAT
Corallium is a littoral colonial species living on rocky bottoms of warmer seas.
GENERAL CHARACTERSTICS OF CORALLIUM : RED CORAL
- Commonly called as red coral.
- Colony is erect, branching with a dense, calcareous axis of fused spicules surrounded by canaliferous coenenchyme bearing spicules.
- Skeleton is hard, calcareous, red in colour and represented by a branching axial rod running throughout the colony, as well as in the tinys spicules embedded in coenosarc.
- Gorgonin is completely absent.
- Colony has a firm outer tissue of coenosarc which contains delicate, white coloured, retractile and dimorphic polyps.
- Nutritive polyps are called as autozooids having 8 pinnate tentacles, mesenteries and gonads.
- Small water-pumping polyps or siphonozooids without tentacles.
- Due to cement-like deposits of carbonate in the centre, the solid limestone rod is formed
Red coral is very precious and of great commercial value, as it is extensively used in jewellery. It is also called as ‘red monga’. Coral is fished along the African and Italian coasts.
The colony has red-coloured skeleton with whitish retractile dimorphic polyps and all above characters, hence it is Corallium