Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Tubastraea coccinea
(orange-cup coral)

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Datasheet

Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 08 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tubastraea coccinea
  • Preferred Common Name
  • orange-cup coral
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Cnidaria
  •       Class: Anthozoa
  •         Genus: Tubastraea
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) has been introduced to all continents except Antarctica and is thought to compete with native benthic invertebrates for ...

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tubastraea coccinea Lesson, 1829

Preferred Common Name

  • orange-cup coral

Other Scientific Names

  • Astropsammia pedersenii
  • Caryophyllia aurantiaca
  • Coenopsammia affinis
  • Coenopsammia aurea
  • Coenopsammia coccinea
  • Coenopsammia ehrenbergiana
  • Coenopsammia manni
  • Coenopsammia radiata
  • Coenopsammia tenuilamellosa
  • Coenopsammia urvillii
  • Coenopsammia willeyi
  • Dendrophyllia affinis
  • Dendrophyllia aurantiaca
  • Dendrophyllia danae
  • Dendrophyllia ehrenbergiana
  • Dendrophyllia manni
  • Dendrophyllia surcularis
  • Dendrophyllia turbinata
  • Dendrophyllia willeyi
  • Lobophyllia aurea
  • Placopsammia darwini
  • Tubastraea aurea
  • Tubastraea pedersenii
  • Tubastraea tenuilamellosa
  • Tubastraea willeyi

International Common Names

  • English: colonial-cup coral; orange-tube coral
  • French: tubastrée orange

Summary of Invasiveness

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Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) has been introduced to all continents except Antarctica and is thought to compete with native benthic invertebrates for space and to compromise their communities. The reduction of native sponges and native corals could also have significant flow-on effects for entire ecosystems.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Cnidaria
  •             Class: Anthozoa
  •                 Genus: Tubastraea
  •                     Species: Tubastraea coccinea

Description

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Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) are non-reef building coral species that extend beautiful translucent tentacles at night (Hawaii Coral Reef Network 2005). The orange cup coral is a heterotroph (consumer) that does not contain zooxanthellae (endosymbiotic dinoflagellates or algae) as most corals do (Blomquist et al. 2006).

Distribution

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Native range: Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) is native to the Indo-Pacific region (Fenner and Banks 2004).
Known introduced range: Caribbean (Fenner and Banks 2004), Asia, Africa, Australasia, Pacific, North America, Central America and South America.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

British Indian Ocean TerritoryPresentISSG, 2011
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Hong KongPresentISSG, 2011
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentISSG, 2011
Cocos IslandsPresentISSG, 2011
IndiaPresentISSG, 2011
IndonesiaPresentISSG, 2011
JapanPresentISSG, 2011
Korea, Republic ofPresentISSG, 2011
KuwaitPresentISSG, 2011
MalaysiaPresentISSG, 2011
-SabahPresentISSG, 2011
MaldivesPresentISSG, 2011
MyanmarPresentISSG, 2011
OmanPresentISSG, 2011
PhilippinesPresentISSG, 2011
Saudi ArabiaPresentISSG, 2011
SingaporePresentISSG, 2011
Sri LankaPresentISSG, 2011
TaiwanPresentISSG, 2011
ThailandPresentISSG, 2011
VietnamPresentISSG, 2011

Africa

Cape VerdePresentISSG, 2011
DjiboutiPresentISSG, 2011
EgyptPresentISSG, 2011
KenyaPresentISSG, 2011
MadagascarPresentISSG, 2011
MauritiusPresentISSG, 2011
MozambiquePresentISSG, 2011
SeychellesPresentISSG, 2011
TanzaniaPresentISSG, 2011

North America

MexicoPresentISSG, 2011
USAPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2011
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
-TexasPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
ArubaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
BahamasPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
BelizePresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
Costa RicaPresentISSG, 2011
CubaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
DominicaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
HondurasPresentISSG, 2011
JamaicaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
PanamaPresentISSG, 2011
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011

South America

BrazilPresentIntroduced1980s Invasive ISSG, 2011
ColombiaPresentISSG, 2011
EcuadorPresentISSG, 2011
-Galapagos IslandsPresentISSG, 2011
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011

Oceania

American SamoaPresentISSG, 2011
AustraliaPresentISSG, 2011
-New South WalesPresentISSG, 2011
-QueenslandPresentISSG, 2011
-Western AustraliaPresentISSG, 2011
French PolynesiaPresentISSG, 2011
KiribatiPresentISSG, 2011
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
New CaledoniaPresentISSG, 2011
New ZealandPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
-Kermadec IslandsPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentISSG, 2011

Habitat

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T. coccinea (orange-cup coral) inhabit shaded vertical surfaces and caverns down to huge depths. Orange-cup-corals are also found in very cold water throughout the world (Hawaii Coral Reef Network, 2005). Orange-cup corals often dominate tropical habitats not occupied by other coral species, such as wrecks and cryptic reef habitats (Vermeij 2006). They also colonise artificial structures (Fenner and Banks, 2004; Sammarco et al., 2004) but experiments have demonstrated similar preferences for granite, cement, steel and tile (Creed and De Paula, 2007). In Brazil they are most abundant in the shallow sub-tidal zone at shallow depths between 0m and 3m (De Paula and Creed, 2004, 2005; Creed, 2006).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details
Marine Present, no further details

Biology and Ecology

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Nutrition
Cup-coral species rely upon capturing zooplankton as food (Hawaii Coral Reef Network 2005).

    Reproduction
    Tubastraea coccinea is hermaphroditic and produces planulae (flat, free-swimming, ciliated larva) asexually (ameiotically) (Ayre and Resing 1986). Gonads are unlikely to be involved in the asexual production of brooded larvae (Ayre and Resing 1986). It is able to form “runners” (a thin tissue outgrowth lacking polyps) which extend at a growth rate of up to 10.4cm per year until they encounter unoccupied patches of substratum. New polyps then form at the end of the runners (Vermeij 2005).

      Lifecycle stages
      The reproductive age of the Tubastraea coccinea is around 1.5 years and growth averages at approximately 3cm² per year (Vermeij 2006). It increases in local abundance by reaching maturity at a small size and producing planula at an early age (Vaughan 1919; Van Moorsel 1989; Fenner and Banks 2004, in Vermeij 2006).

        Means of Movement and Dispersal

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        Introduction pathways to new locations
        Ship/boat hull fouling: Many colonies of Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) were found on the hulls of wrecked ships and sunken docks in shaded areas (Fenner and Banks, 2004), and on a ships hull in Brazil (Ferreira, 2003; Creed & Paula 2007).
        Translocation of machinery/equipment: Mobile platforms could have contributed to dispersal of Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) to the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas platforms (Fenner and Banks, 2004, Sammarco et al. 2004). In Brazil introduction was probably through oil and gas platforms (Ferreira, 2003; De Paula & Creed, 2005).

        Local dispersal methods
        Natural dispersal (local):Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) larvae are competent for at least 14 days (Harrison & Wallace, 1990), although most settle within 1m of adults (Creed & Paula 2007).

          Impact Summary

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          CategoryImpact
          Environment (generally) Negative
          Native fauna Negative

          Impact

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          Although Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) is listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species website and database (see Tubastraea coccinea in CITES species Database) it often competes with other benthic invertebrates for substratum space (Vermeij 2006). This may put native species at risk, particularly sponges and native corals. Local exclusion or extinction of such species may occur and the removal of the native corals may reduce the production of the entire ecosystem, compromising ecosystem functions (Creed 2006).

          Risk and Impact Factors

          Top of page Impact outcomes
          • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
          • Threat to/ loss of native species
          Impact mechanisms
          • Competition
          • Fouling

          Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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          Cladopsammia eguchii is often confused with the well-known orange cup coral in Hawaii (Hawaii Coral Reef Network 2005).

            Prevention and Control

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            Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

            Manual: In Brazil a control and eradication programme called “Projeto Coral-Sol” is removing Tubastraea coccinea from the environment (Joel Creed, pers.comm., 2007).

            Bibliography

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            Alvarado, J.J., Cortés, J., Fernández, C. and Nivia, J. 2005. Coral communities and reefs of Ballena Marine National Park, Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Cinecias Marinas 31(4): 641-651. http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/redalyc/pdf/480/48031404.pdf

            Ayre, D.J. and Resing, J.M. 1986. Sexual and asexual production of planulae in reef corals, Marine Biology 90: 187-190.

            Blomquist, C.H., Lima, P.H., Tarrant,A.M., Atkinson,M.J. and Atkinson, S. 2006. 17ß-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17ß-HSD) in scleractinian corals and zooxanthellae, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B 143: 397-403.

            Brook, F.J. 1999. The coastal scleractinian coral fauna of the Kermadec Islands, southwestern Pacific Ocean, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 29 (4): 435-460. http://www.rsnz.org/publish/jrsnz/1999/27.pdf

            Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)., 2008. Decision support tools-Identifying potentially invasive non-native marine and freshwater species: fish, invertebrates, amphibians. http://www.cefas.co.uk/projects/risks-and-impacts-of-non-native-species/decision-support-tools.aspx

            Cortés, 1990. The coral reefs of Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica: distribution and community structure. Smithsonian Institution: Washington. http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/duffy/arb/339-346/344.pdf

            Cortés, H.J., Glynn, P.W. and Richmond, R.H. 1990. Coral mortality associated with dinoflagellate blooms in the eastern Pacific (Costa Rica and Panama), Marine Ecology Progress Series 60(3): 299-304

            Creed, J.C. 2006. Two invasive alien azooxanthellate corals, Tubastraea coccinea and Tubastraea tagusensis, dominate the native zooxanthellate Mussismilia hispida in Brazil, Coral Reefs 25: 350.

            Creed, J.C., Paula, A.F. De, 2007. Substratum preference during recruitment of two invasive alien corals onto shallow-subtidal tropical rocky shores. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 330: 101-111

            De Paula A F, Creed J C, 2004. Two species of the coral Tubastraea (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) in Brazil: a case of accidental introduction. Bull Mar Sci 74:175–183

            De Paula A F, Creed J C, 2005. Spatial distribution and abundance of nonindigenous coral genus Tubastraea (Cnidaria, Scleractinia) around Ilha Grande, Brazil. Bras J Biol 65: 661–673

            Fenner, D. and Banks, K. 2004. Orange Cup Coral Tubastraea coccinea invades Florida and the Flower Garden Banks, Northwestern Gulf of Mexico, Coral Reefs 23: 505-507.

            Fenner, D., Clark, T.H., Turner, J.R. and Chapman, B. 2004. A checklist of the corals of the island state of Rodrigues, Mauritius, Journal of Natural History 38: 3091-3102.

            Ferreira, C.E.L. 2003. Non-indigenous corals at marginal sites, Coral Reefs 22: 498.

            Guzman, H.M., Guevara, C.A. and Breedy, A.O. 2004. Distribution, diversity, and conservation of coral reefs and coral communities in the largest marine protected area of Pacific Panama (Coiba Island), Environmental Conservation 31(2): 111–121.

            Harrison P.L. & Wallace, C.C. 1990. Reproduction, dispersal and recruitment of scleractinian corals. In: Dubinsky Z (ed) Ecosystems of the World: Coral Reefs. Elsevier Science, New York p 133-207.

            Hawaii Coral Reef Network. 2005. Family Dendrophyllidae: Cup Corals. http://www.coralreefnetwork.com/stender/corals/orange/orange.htm

            Ridgl, B. and Velimirov, B. 1994. The structure of coral communities at Hurghada in the nothern Red Sea, PSZNI: Marine Ecology 15(3/4): 213-231.

            Sammarco P W, Atchison A D, Boland G S, 2004. Expansion of coral communities within the Northern Gulf of Mexico via offshore oil and gas platforms. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 280: 129–143

            UNEP-WCMC, 2008. UNEP-WCMC Species Database: CITES-Listed Species Tubastraea coccinea (orange-cup coral) http://sea.unep-wcmc.org/isdb/CITES/Taxonomy/tax-species-result.cfm?Genus=Tubastraea&Species=coccinea&source=animals

            USGS (United States Geological Survey). 2006. Tubastrea cocinea. Retrieved 9 January 2007, from Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/CollectionInfo.asp?SpeciesID=2586&

            Vermeij, M.J.A. 2005. A novel growth strategy allows Tubastrea coccinea to escape small-scale adverse conditions and start over again, Coral Reefs 24: 442.

            Vermeij, M.J.A. 2006. Early life-history dynamics of Caribbean coral species on artificial substratum: the importance of competition, growth and variation in life-history strategy, Coral Reefs 25: 59-71.

            Contributors

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              Reviewed by: Prof. Dr. Joel Christopher Creed, Laboratorio de Ecologia Marinha Bentica Departamento de Ecologia - IBRAG Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - Uerj, Brazil
              Compiled by: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from La Fondation d'entreprise Total
             
              Last Modified: Tuesday, May 29, 2007

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