The series of ridges and valleys common to this type of hard coral which resemble the sulci (grooves) and gyri(ridges) on the surface of the Animal Brain, gives rise to its name.
1. Brain corals are colonial animals and live in a symbiotic relationship with an algae.
2. Collectively they are known as hermatypic corals (after the Greek god Hermes, speedy messenger).
3. They play an important role in reef formation, being the sturdiest of all corals due to their spherical structure.
4. They can form colonies upto 6 feet in height!
5. The largest Brain corals in the world today are 200 years old!
6. They feed at night, mostly on drifiting sea lives, by extending their tentacles which they wrap around themselves during the day.
Coral reefs around the world have seen vast destructive changes. Silt from the construction activities on the shoreline has been found to smother and suffocate the tender Coral population. Habitations near the shore mean more sewage, oil and chemicals in the water.
Coral harvesting for commerce has also added to the problem.
(I must confess here that I bought my Brain coral from a local fisherman on one of the beaches in the Eastern coast of my country. And that too, for a pathetically insignificant amount of money!)
Thankfully, recent studies have found that an unusual form of algae has evolved in the Northern parts of the Indian Ocean which is relatively resistant to the rising temperatures of the ocean.You can read about it here.
Maybe nature always finds a way of conserving herself, in spite of Man’s insensitive and destructive activities.