Record of a central Indo-Pacific corallimorph in the Lakshadweep atolls and its competition with the hard corals

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  • A. Alvin Cochin University Of Science and Technology, ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute
  • K. R. Aju ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi, Kerala, India- 682018
  • K. R. Sreenath ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute
  • M. A. Pradeep ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi, Kerala, India- 682018
  • E. A. Nisha ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi, Kerala, India- 682018
  • K. K. Joshi ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi, Kerala, India- 682018


Rhodactis bryoides, Bioinvasion, Coral reefs, Corallimorpharia


Coral reefs are disappearing worldwide because of mass bleaching, natural disasters, diseases and anthropogenic stressors.
This leaves a large area of unutilised substratum, to which other benthic organisms, like corallimorpharians (CMs),
anemones and macroalgae, can move in. In this article, we describe, for the first time, the competition for space between
a CM and the hard corals in Kavaratti Atoll in the Indian Ocean. This is the first reported instance of an invasion of CM in
the entire Lakshadweep Islands. The CM Rhodactis bryoides Haddon and Shackleton, 1893, is identified by morphological
and molecular analysis. The species has not so far been reported from the western Indian Ocean area. We monitored the rate
of invasion for six months to figure out the growth rate of CMs. This area did not have any prominent causative factors for
CM outbreaks, such as external disturbances and nutrient enrichment. Yet our study showed that CMs are successful in the
competition for space. More research needs to be done into the biology of this species, how it interacts with other benthic
groups and how the environment facilitates its spread.

Keywords: Bioinvasion, Coral reefs, Corallimorpharia, Phase shift, Rhodactis bryoides

Author Biographies

  • A. Alvin, Cochin University Of Science and Technology, ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute

    SRF, MBEM Division ICAR- Central MArine Fisheries Resarch Institute

  • K. R. Sreenath, ICAR- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute

    Marine Biodiversity & Marine Management Division, Senior Scientist


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How to Cite

A. Alvin, K. R. Aju, K. R. Sreenath, M. A. Pradeep, E. A. Nisha, & K. K. Joshi. (2023). Record of a central Indo-Pacific corallimorph in the Lakshadweep atolls and its competition with the hard corals. Indian Journal of Fisheries, 70(1).