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Volume 49, 1916
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Art. XVII.—Some Corals from Kermadec Islands.*

[Read before the Otago Institute, 1st August, 1916; received by Editors, 30th December, 1916; issued separately, 16th August, 1917.]

Plates XVII-XX.

Professor W. B. Benham, in 1910, forwarded to me the collection of corals made by Mr. W. R. B. Oliver in the Kermadec Islands in 1908, with the request that I send him a report, but other duties obliged me to defer carefully studying it until May, 1916. The specimens on which the following notes or descriptions are based were presented to the U.S. National Museum by Professor Benham, except the paratype of Goniastrea benhami, which has been returned; duplicate specimens or parts of specimens were retained by him, and are deposited in the University of Otago, New Zealand.

In a paper entitled “Some Shoal-water Corals from Murray Island, Australia, Cocos-Keeling Islands, and Fanning Island,” now in press as part of Publication 213 of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the following species, which also occur in the Kermadec Islands, are considered in some detail and figured: Pocillopora bulbosa Ehrenberg, Orbicella curta Dana, Cyphastrea serailia (Forskal), Leptoria tenuis (Dana). As the memoir mentioned is not yet in proof, references to the pages on which the descriptions will appear and references to the plates and figures cannot now be given.

Geographic Distribution Of Corals From Kermadec Islands.
Name. Distribution.
Pocillopora bulbosa Ehrenberg From Cocos-Keeling Islands to Fiji Islands; represented in the Hawaiian Islands by the closely related if not specifically identical P. cespitosa Dana.
Orbicella curta Dana Great Barrier Reef, thence eastward to the Paumotus.
Cyphastrea serailia (Forskal) Red Sea; Indian Ocean; Great Barrier Reef; Philippine Islands.
Goniastrea benhami n. sp. Formosa; probably Singapore.
Leptoria tenuis (Dana) South Philippines; Fiji Islands.
Sclerophyllia margariticola Klz. Red Sea; west Indian Ocean.
Turbinaria crater (Pallas) Torres Strait; Amboina.
Montipora caliculata (Dana) Bernard Torres Strait; New Guinea; Macclesfield Bank: Kandavu.

All the species are widely distributed Indo-Pacific corals; five of the eight are known from eastern Australia, while another occurs both east and west of the Great Barrier Reef. Two of the species are known from the Philippines or Formosa, but as yet have not been authentically reported from Australia.

[Footnote] * Published by permission of the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. The illustrations for this paper were furnished by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Pocillopora bulbosa Ehrenberg (fide Dana).

1846. Pocillopora bulbosa Dana, U.S. Expl. Exped., Zooph., p. 527, pl. 49, figs. 5, 5a.

1907. Pocillopora acuta Bedot, Madréporaires d'Amboine, p. 152, pl. 7, figs. 14—17.

As it seems to me actual intergradation between P. bulbosa and P. acuta has not been established, I am following Dana's usage. However, it is entirely probable that P. bulbosa Ehrenberg (as identified by Dana), P. subacuta Milne-Edwards, and P. cespitosa Dana will ultimately be referred to the synonymy of P. acuta.

The terminal branchlets of the Kermadec Island specimen are up to a little over 1 cm. long, but at that length are already subdividing into from two to four young branchlets. The greater diameter of the ends of the summit incipient branchlets is from 3.5 mm. to 5.5 mm.; the lesser from about 2 mm. to 3 mm. These measurements show that the branchlets are not greatly attenuate. The calicular and coenenchymal characters are as usual in the species.

Locality.—Meyer Island: on rock; depth. 1 fathom.

Orbicella curta Dana. (Plate XVII.)

1846. A. Orbicella curta Dana, U.S. Expl. Exped., Zooph., p. 209, pl. 10, figs. 3, 3a–3c.

1846. A. Orbicella coronata Dana, ibid., p. 211, pl. 10, figs. 4, 4a-4f.

1899. Orbicella wakayana Gardiner, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., p. 753, pl. 49, fig. 2.

1914. Favia wakayana (and synonymy) Matthai, Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond., 2nd ser., Zool., p. 104, pl. 25, fig. 4.

The specimen from Kermadec Islands has a somewhat glomerate upper surface, with many of the calices greatly deformed. Maximum length of the deformed calices, up to 10.5 mm.; width, 5 mm. Some of these undergo fission. A large slightly deformed calice is 7 mm. by 8 mm. in diameter, and 5.5 mm. deep. The diameter ranges down to 5 mm. or 5.5 mm. Asexual reproduction usually (normally) by intercalicular gemmation.

At one time it seemed to me that this specimen should be referred to another species, but its resemblances to O. curta are too many, especially when the good suite of specimens from the Paumotus, in the U.S. National Museum, is considered.

Locality.—Meyer Island: on rock; depth, 1 fathom.

Cyphastrea serailia (Forskal).

1914. Cyphastrea serailia Matthai, Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond., 2nd ser., Zool, vol. 17, p. 39, pl. 7, fig. 4; pl. 11, figs. 1–9; pl. 13, fig. 8; pl. 38, figs. 1, 5.

The specimen forms an incrustation (about 14 mm. thick) over Litho-thamnium, which in its turn incrusts dead coral (Montipora). Many of the calices are completely typical of C. serailiai.e., with 3 cycles of septa, the tertiaries small but with distinct costae corresponding to them; but many others have from 1 to 5 principal septa which are really elongate tertiaries: in other words, from 13 to 17 septa extend to the columella.

Locality.—Denham Bay, Sunday Island: dredged in about 20 fathoms.

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Oibicella curta Dana

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Goniastrea benhami Vaughan n. sp.
Fig. 1.—Paratype; natural size.
Figs. 2, 2a —Holotype; views, natural size, of two areas on the surface of the same specimen to show variation in the characters of the collmes and valleys.

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Goniastrea benhami Vaughan n. sp.
Figs 1, 1a —Holotype; views of two areas on the surface, each x 4.

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Fig 1 —Goniastiea benham Vaughan n. sp. Longitudinal of coralhtes of holotype, × 4.
Figs 2, 2aMontipora calculata (Dana) Fig 2, upper surface, natural size, fig 2a, caliees of upper surface, × 8.

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Goniastrea benhami n. sp. (Plate XVIII, figs. 1, 2, 2a; Plate XIX, figs. 1, 1a; Plate XX, fig. 1.)

Description of Holotype (Plate XVIII, figs. 2, 2a; Plate XIX, figs. 1, 1a; Plate XX, fig. 1).—Corallum with a small basal attachment, from which it grows outward with an upwardly inclined, subhorizontal, or undulate lower surface. Epitheca distinct, thin, wrinkled, finely striate. Upper surface curved, with one small hump. Length of radius of corallum, 9 cm. (diameter, about 18 cm.); thickness at centre, 5 mm.; thickness at edge, from a mere basal membrane at the ends of valleys up to 5 mm.; the height of a colline. Texture light. Intercorallite walls thin, sometimes with slits between the septa. Calices circumscribed or in series, but where they occur in series the calicinal centres are distinct. Circumscribed calices about 7 mm. by 8 mm. in diameter; the series range from 9 mm. wide and 17 mm. long to 6 mm. wide and 44 mm. long. Range in width, from 6 mm. to 9 mm.; in length, from 8 mm. to 44 mm.; depth, from 5 mm. to 6 mm. Distance from the edge of one columella to the edge of the next in the series, from 2 mm. to 5.5. mm. Septa thin, 10 to 12 within 5 mm.—i.e., 20 to 24 within 1 cm.; alternately larger and smaller with fair regularity; opposed outer septal ends meet in an angle on the colline summit (a larger usually but not invariably opposite a smaller). Below this angle the septa are narrow and fall steeply within the narrow valleys, but slope more gradually within wide valleys. Between the wall and the inner ends of the septa there are from about 12 to about 14 pectinations; those near the lower ends of the septa somewhat larger and more or less divided on their tips. Thin erect paliform lobes well developed. Their inner edges fall steeply to the periphery of a columella composed of fine, rather delicate septal trabeculae. Septal faces beset with delicate, pointed granulations. Endotheca highly developed, very vesicular.

Description of Paratype (Plate XVIII, fig. 1). — This differs from the holotype chiefly in having a more distinctly hillocky surface; and some septa are thicker.

Localities.—Meyer Island: on rock; depth, 1 fathom (holotype). Meyer Island: rocky and gravel bottom; depth, 12 fathoms (paratype). Dayrell Islet: volcanic submarine beds.

Remarks.—This coral is a species of Goniastrea, and except that it has meandroid calicinal valleys it bears considerable resemblance to some specimens of G. pectinata (Ehrenberg), which I have illustrated rather elaborately in my paper on the shoal-water corals from Murray Island, &c. G. planulata Milne-Edwards and Haime has meandroid corallites, but its skeleton is much heavier. I know of no described coral species to which the one here considered is referable, but that it has a rather wide distribution in the Pacific Ocean is shown by a specimen from Formosa (according to label) in the U.S. National Museum.

Studer* has described a coral from Singapore, to which he applies the name Scapophyllia lobata, which may be the same as this; but he gives the number of septa for it as 13–15 to 1 cm., while the number for Goniastrea benhami is 20–24 to 1 cm. If Studer meant 13–15 to apply to the larger septa the number per centimetre would be nearly the same as in the latter. A good photographic illustration of Studer's species is needed.

[Footnote] * Naturforsch. Gesellsch. Bern., Mitth., Jhr. 1880, p. 34, 1881.

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Leptoria tenuis (Dana).

1846. Meandrina tenuis Dana, U.S. Expl. Exped., Zooph., p. 262, pl. 14, figs. 7, 7a–7d.

This species is discussed and the type is refigured in my paper on the shoal-water corals from Murray Island, &c.

Localities.—Kermadec Islands: Napier Islet; included in lava-flow; altitude, 200 ft.: Dayrell Islet; volcanic submarine beds.

Sclerophyllia margariticola Klunzinger.

1879. Sclerophyllia margariticola Klunzinger, Korallenth. Roth. Meer., pt. 3, p. 4, pl. 1, fig. 12.

1907. Sclerophyllia margariticola Vaughan, Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., vol. 32, p. 258.

Locality.—Kermadec Islands: Dayrell Islet; volcanic submarine beds (two specimens).

Turbinaria crater (Pallas).

1896. Turbinaria crater Bernard, Cat. Genus Turbinaria, p. 23, pl. 1; pl. 31, fig. 1.

Corallum represented by a peripheral fragment; apparently crateriform when entire. Radial length of fragment, 34 mm.; thickness at inner, broken edge, 4.5 mm.; thickness at peripheral edge, 2 mm.; margin rounded. Corallites unifacial, confined to upper surface; about their diameters apart; inclined outward; length of upper wall up to 3.5 mm; lower edge of calice elevated up to 1.5 mm. above the coenenchyma; at the periphery the lower edge is immersed; upper edge, of calice up to between 3 mm. and 3.5 mm. above the coenenchyma. Basal diameter of corallites up to 3.25 mm. measured along a tangential line; calicular diameter along tangential line up to 2.5 mm., in a radial plane up to 3 mm. Walls rather dense; externally granulate, without definite costules. Calicular apertures up to about 1.5 mm. by 2.25 mm. in diameter, somewhat compressed radially, and directed outward. Twelve septa extend to the columella, there may be from 2 to 6 tertiary septa, which are usually introduced in the interseptal loculi next beyond those on the sides of the directive septum at the proximal end of the calice. In other words, septa of the tertiary cycles are added bilaterally, and usually at one end of the plane of symmetry. The columella fossa in a radial plane is about half the diameter of the calicular aperture; in a tangential plane about one-third the calicular diameter; and is relatively deep, up to about 1.5 mm. The columella is lamellate, lying along the directive plane, the septa joining it by radial processes. There is often a distinct ring of synapticulae outside the columella. The coenenchyma is relatively dense. There are almost solid lower layers supported by trabecular pillars or short spines; above this is a layer in which new corallites have formed; and above the more spongy zone another compact layer, which forms the upper surface. The coenenchymal surfaces, both lower and upper, are granulate, rather flaky, and indefinitely costulate.

Locality.—Kermadec Islands: probably from Denham Bay, Sunday Island, at a depth of 3 fathoms.

Remarks.—This coral differs from Bernard's description of T. crater by having relatively deep calices, whereas the latter is said to have a shallow fossa. Otherwise there seems to be no difference of importance.

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Montipora caliculata (Dana) Bernard.

1897. Montipora caliculata Bernard, Cat. Genus Montipora, p. 57, pl. 9; pl. 32, fig. 14.

The specimen agrees in all particulars with Bernard's description and figures of M. caliculata except that the secondary septa although uniformly well developed are distinctly smaller than the primaries. Dana's type of M. caliculata should be in the U.S. National Museum (No. 335), but I have failed to find it.

Locality.—Meyer Island: on rock; depth, 1 fathom.

Acropora sp.

Two worn fragments, not positively identifiable.

Locality.—Kermadec Islands: Titi Knob, Sunday Island; volcanic submarine agglomerate.

Alveopora sp.

A worn fossilized specimen.

Locality.—Kermadec Islands: Dayrell Islet; volcanic submarine beds.