Biodiversity in Belize
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Reef coral book

Coral Bleaching in Belize

Status Of Coral Reefs Of Northern Central America: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua And El Salvador. Kramer, Richards Kramer, Arias-Gonzalez & Mcfield 2000. *.pdf file

Monitoring coral bleaching

Elhorn coral: now a threathened species?

Disseases in corals

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Corals of Belize

Currently, there are approximately 66 hard corals recognized from Belize. 54 of these are typical hermatypic corals and 12 ahermatypic species. A hermatypic coral is a reef-building coral with symbiotic zooanthellae in the tissues. The zooanthellae utililize carbon dioxide and sunlight to produce organic compounds which are absorbed by the coral as food, providing the overwhelming majority of nutrition needed by the coral colony. Corals which do not have zooanthellae are called ahermatypic corals, and must rely on capturing prey with the stinging cells in their tentacles.

This list currently contains only the "hard" corals. Soft Corals and Black Corals will be added on a later date.

The corals of Belize are a beleaguered lot. Recent coral bleaching events have killed large stands and virtually wiped out individual species (see links on the left). What the future will bring is unclear but with global warming progressing, it does not look good.

Class Family Scientific Name Synonym English Name
Hydrozoa - Hydrocorals
Milleporidae: Fire corals
Millepora alcicornis Branching Fire Coral
Millepora complanata Blade Fire Coral
Millepora striata
Stylasteridae: Lace corals
Stylaster roseus Rose Lace Coral
Anthozoa - Subclass Octocorallia - Gorgonians, Telestaceans, Soft Corals
Being updated
Anthozoa - Subclass Hexacorallia - Order Antipatharia - Black Corals
Being updated
Anthozoa - Subclass Hexacorallia - Order Scleractinia - Stony Corals
Stephanocoenia michelini Blushing Star Coral
Madracis mirabilis Yellow Pencil Coral
Madracis decactis f. decactis Ten-ray Finger Coral
Madracis luciphila M. pharensis f. luciphila Encrusting Star Coral
Madracis pharensis M. pharensis f. pharensis Star Coral
Madracis formosa Eight-ray Finger Coral
Acroporidae: Staghorn and Elkhorn Corals
Acropora palmata Elkhorn Coral
Acropora cervicornis Staghorn Coral
Acropora prolifera Fused Staghorn
Agaricia tenuifolia Thin Leaf Lettuce Coral
Agaricia agaricites f. agaricites Lettuce Coral
Agaricia agaricites f. purpurea Lettuce Coral
Agaricia agaricites f. carinata Lettuce Coral
Agaricia agaricites f. danai Lettuce Coral
Agaricia tenuifolia  
Agaricia fragilis Fragile Saucer Coral
Agaricia lamarcki Lamarck's Sheet Coral
Agaricia undata Scroll Coral
Agaricia humilis Lowrelief Lettuce Coral
Agaricia grahamae¹ Graham's Sheet Coral
Leptoseris cucullata Helioceris cucullata Sunray Lettuce Coral
Siderastrea siderea Massive Starlet Coral
Siderastrea radians Lesser Starlet Coral
Porites porites f. porites Finger Coral
Porites porites f. furcata Branched Finger Coral
Porites porites f. divaricata Thin Finger Coral
Porites astreoides Mustard Hill Coral
Porites colonensis Honeycomb Plate Coral
Porites branneri Blue Crust Coral
Favia fragum Golfball Coral
Diploria strigosa Symmetrical Brain Coral
Diploria clivosa Knobby Brain Coral
Diploria labyrinthiformis Grooved Brain Coral
Manicina areolata f. areolata Rose Coral
Manicina areolata f. mayori Tortugas Rose Coral
Colpophyllia natans Colpophyllia breviserialis Boulder Brain Coral
Cladocera arbuscula
Montastrea faveolata (?) Montastrea annularis Mountainous Star Coral
Montastrea annularis Lobed Star Coral
Montastrea franksi (?) Montastrea annularis Boulder Star Coral
Montastrea cavernosa Great Star Coral
Solenastrea bournoni Smooth Star Coral
Solenastrea hyades³ Knobby Star Coral
Phyllangia americana Hidden Cup Coral
Astragia solitaria Dwarf Cup Coral
Colangia immersa Lesser Speckled Cup Coral
Oculina diffusa Diffuse Ivory Bush Coral
Oculina varicosa Large Ivory Coral
Oculina valenciennesi Ivory Tree Coral
Caryophyllia ambrosia
Deltocyanthus agassizzi
Deltocyanthus moseleyi
Javenia cailleti
Meandrina meandrites Maze Coral
Dendrogyra cylindrus Pillar Coral
Dichocoenia stokesii Dichocoenia stellaris Elliptical Star Coral
Mussa angulosa f. angulosa
Mussa lacera Scolymia lacera Spiny Flower Coral
Mussa cubensis Scolymia cubensis Artichoce Coral
Isophyllia sinuosa Sinuous Cactus Coral
Isophyllastrea rigida Rough Star Coral
Mycetophyllia lamarckiana Ridged Cactus Coral
Mycetophyllia danaana Lowridge Cactus Coral
Mycetophyllia aliciae Knobby Cactus Coral
Mycetophyllia ferox Rough Cactus Coral
Mycetophyllia reesii Ridgeless Cactus Coral
Eusmilia fastigiata Smooth Flower Coral
Thalamophyllia riisei² Baroque Cave Coral
Gardineria minor
Tubastraea coccinea Orange Cup Coral = invasive from Indo-Pacific

(1) A. grahamae is very difficult to identify witthouth a microscopic and so it's presence in Belize has not been confirmed by Doug Fenner
(2) Listed by Father Dieckman as Desmophyllum riisei
(3) In Father Dieckman's collection but not on his list.

Sources, Literature:

Cairns, S. D. 1982. Stony corals (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa, Scleractinia) of Carrie Bow Cay, Belize. In: Rutzler, K. and Macintyre, I. C. (eds.). The Atlantic Barrier Reef Ecosystem at Carrie Bow Cay, Belize, 1. Structure and communities. Smithsonian contributions to the Marine Sciences No 12. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC.

Dieckman, L. E. 19??. The Corals of Belize (Report to Belize Audubon Society)

Fenner, D. 19??. Notes from Turneffe and Snake Cays

Fenner, D.  1999.  New observations on the stony coral (Scleractinia, Milleporidae, and Stylasteridae) species of Belize (Central America) and Cozumel, Mexico.  Bulletin of Marine Science 64: 143-154.

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