Effects of Coralliophila violacea on tissue loss in the scleractinian corals Porites spp. depend on host response

Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
By: , and 



We investigated interactions between the corallivorous gastropod Coralliophila violacea and its preferred hosts Porites spp. Our objectives were to experimentally determine whether tissue loss could progress in Porites during or after Coralliophila predation on corals with and without tissue loss and to histologically document snail predation. In 64% of feeding scars, tissue regenerated within 3 wk, leaving no trace of predation. However, in roughly 28% of scars, lesions progressed to subacute tissue loss resembling white syndrome. In feeding experiments, scars from snails previously fed diseased tissue developed progressive tissue loss twice as frequently as scars from snails previously fed healthy tissue. Scars from previously healthy-fed snails were 3 times as likely to heal as those from previously diseased-fed snails. Histology revealed marked differences in host responses to snails; P. cylindrica manifested a robust inflammatory response with fewer secondary colonizing organisms such as algae, sponges, and helminths, whereas P. rus showed no evident inflammation and more secondary colonization. We conclude that lesion progression associated with Coralliophila may be associated with secondary colonization of coral tissues damaged by predator-induced trauma and necrosis. Importantly, variation at the cellular level should be considered when explaining interspecific differences in host responses in corals impacted by phenomena such as predation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of Coralliophila violacea on tissue loss in the scleractinian corals Porites spp. depend on host response
Series title Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
DOI 10.3354/dao02982
Volume 119
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Inter-Research
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 9 p.
First page 75
Last page 83
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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