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Millepora boschmai

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CNIDARIA HYDROZOA MILLEPORINA MILLEPORIDAE

Scientific Name: Millepora boschmai
Species Authority: De Weerdt and Glynn 1991
Taxonomic Notes: A specimen collected in Indonesia was recently attributed to this species (Razak and Hoeksema 2003). Such an anomalous distribution requires taxonomic follow up to confirm or refute conspecific status.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2ac ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Guzmán, H. & Edgar, G.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S., Polidoro, B. & Smith, J. (Global Marine Species Assessment)
Justification:
No confirmed living animals are known, although animals possibly conspecific with this species have recently been reported from Indonesia. Research into this possibility is recommended. The species was initially recorded from a single location at Coiba; that subpopulation was regarded as extinct following the 1982/83 El Nino; however, specimens were later again found in the region. With the subsequent extinction of the second subpopulation, this species may now be extinct. Despite intensive searches no further living specimens have been found within the region. Observed population decline since 1982 in the ETP region is therefore estimated as 100%.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species was only found in the Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama (de Weerdt and Glynn 1991), and most recently, in Indonesia (Razak and Hoeksema 2003). Before 1983, the species was also reported to occur at Contreras Islands, Secas Islands, Coiba Island and Bahía Honda, Panama (de Weerdt and Glynn 1991).

According to Razak and Hoeksema (2003), M. boschmai may so far have been overlooked in Indonesia and the Indo-West Pacific because it is relatively rare or because it is not well known.
Countries:
Possibly extinct:
Australia; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; Panama; Singapore; Thailand
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is considered to be rare.

According to de Weerdt and Glynn (1991), M. boschmai was the least abundant of the three Millepora species known from the Gulf of Chiriquí. De Weerdt and Glynn (1991) reported the elimination of M. boschmai following the 1982-83 El Niño event. Detailed searches from 1984 through 1990 across the former range revealed only dead colonies (Glynn and Feingold 1992). However, in the early 1990's eight live colonies were found in the Gulf of Chiriquí; five colonies at Uva Island (Glynn and Feingold 1992), and three colonies at the north end of Coiba Island (Anonymous 1993 in Glynn et al. 2001). However, after the 1997-98 ENSO event, all known colonies were dead (Glynn et al. 2001). Since then, no live colonies have been observed, despite targeted searches throughout the former distribution.

There is no species specific population information available for this species. However, there is evidence that overall coral reef habitat has declined, and this is used as a proxy for population decline for this species. This species is particularly susceptible to bleaching, disease, and other threats and therefore population decline is based on both the percentage of destroyed reefs and critical reefs that are likely to be destroyed within 20 years (Wilkinson 2004). We assume that most, if not all, mature individuals will be removed from a destroyed reef and that on average, the number of individuals on reefs are equal across its range and proportional to the percentage destroyed reefs. Reef losses throughout the species' range have been estimated over three generations, two in the past and one projected into the future.

The age of first maturity of most reef building corals is typically three to eight years (Wallace 1999) and therefore we assume that average age of mature individuals is greater than eight years. Furthermore, based on average sizes and growth rates, we assume that average generation length is 10 years, unless otherwise stated. Total longevity is not known, but likely to be more than ten years. Therefore any population decline rates for the Red List assessment are measured over at least 30 years. Follow the link below for further details on population decline and generation length estimates.
For further information about this species, see Corals_SupportingDoc.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: M. boschmai was reported from the upper forereef slope (2 m) to deep, sand and rubble slopes (18 m); however, it was most abundant at the reef base (5-6 m) and deeper outer slope to 12-15 m (de Weerdt and Glynn 1991).

Millepora species are generally found in inshore areas characterized by turbidity, and exhibit a tolerance for siltation. They often occur in clear offshore sites (Lovell pers. comm.)
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This genus is generally not found in aquarium trade, but is sometimes collected for curio and jewellery trade. This genus is also susceptible to bleaching events, and this species is thought to have completely disappeared from the majority of its range in the Eastern Tropical Pacific following recent bleaching events (de Weerdt and Glynn 1991).

In general, the major threat to corals is global climate change, in particular, temperature extremes leading to bleaching and increased susceptibility to disease, increased severity of ENSO events and storms, and ocean acidification. In addition to global climate change, corals are also threatened by disease, and a number of localized threats. The severity of these combined threats to the global population of each individual species is not known.

Coral disease has emerged as a serious threat to coral reefs worldwide and is a major cause of reef deterioration (Weil et al. 2006). The numbers of diseases and coral species affected, as well as the distribution of diseases have all increased dramatically within the last decade (Porter et al. 2001, Green and Bruckner 2000, Sutherland et al. 2004, Weil 2004). Coral disease epizootics have resulted in significant losses of coral cover and were implicated in the dramatic decline of acroporids in the Florida Keys (Aronson and Precht 2001, Porter et al. 2001, Patterson et al. 2002). In the Indo-Pacific, disease is also on the rise with disease outbreaks recently reported from the Great Barrier Reef (Willis et al. 2004), Marshall Islands (Jacobson 2006) and the northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Aeby 2006). Increased coral disease levels on the Great Barrier Reef were correlated with increased ocean temperatures (Willis et al. 2007) supporting the prediction that disease levels will be increasing with higher sea surface temperatures.

Localized threats to corals include fisheries, human development (industry, settlement, tourism, and transportation), changes in native species dynamics (competitors, predators, pathogens and parasites), invasive species (competitors, predators, pathogens and parasites), dynamite fishing, chemical fishing, pollution from agriculture and industry, domestic pollution, sedimentation, and human recreation and tourism activities.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Based on the former distribution of M. boschmai in the Eastern Tropical Pacific region, it was present in two protected areas: Panama: Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection, a World Heritage Site, and Golfo de Chiriquí National Park.

These non-scleractinian corals are listed under Appendix I and II of CITES. There are no records in the CITES database of exports of non-scleractinians by weight.

Recommended measures for conserving this species include research in taxonomy, population, abundance and trends, ecology and habitat status, threats and resilience to threats, restoration action; identification, establishment and management of new protected areas; expansion of protected areas; recovery management; and disease, pathogen and parasite management. Artificial propagation and techniques such as cryo-preservation of gametes may become important for conserving coral biodiversity.

Having timely access to national-level trade data for CITES analysis reports would be valuable for monitoring trends this species. The species is targeted by collectors for the aquarium trade and fisheries management is required for the species, e.g., Marine Protected Areas, quotas, size limits, etc. Consideration of the suitability of species for aquaria should also be included as part of fisheries management, and population surveys should be carried out to monitor the effects of harvesting.

Bibliography [top]

Aeby, G.S., Work, T., Coles, S., and Lewis, T. 2006. Coral Disease Across the Hawaiian Archipelago. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 87(36): suppl.

Aronson, R.B. and Precht, W.F. 2001 b. White-band disease and the changing face of Caribbean coral reefs. Hydrobiologia 460: 25-38.

Bruno, J.F., Selig, E.R., Casey, K.S., Page, C.A., Willis, B.L., Harvell, C.D., 2007. Thermal Stress and Coral Cover as Drivers of Coral Disease Outbreaks Sweatman, H., and Melendy, A.M. PLoS Biol 5(6): e124.

Colgan, M.W. 1987. Coral Reef Recovery on Guam (Micronesia) After Catastrophic Predation by Acanthaster Planci. Ecology 68(6): 1592-1605.

Green, E.P. and Bruckner, A.W. 2000. The significance of coral disease epizootiology for coral reef conservation. Biological Conservation 96: 347-361.

Jacobson, D.M. 2006. Fine Scale Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of a Marshall Islands Coral Disease Outbreak: Evidence for Temperature Forcing. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 87(36): suppl.

Patterson, K.L., Porter, J.W., Ritchie, K.B., Polson, S.W., Mueller E., Peters, E.C., Santavy, D.L., Smith, G.W. 2002. The etiology of white pox, a lethal disease of the Caribbean elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata. Proc Natl Acad Sci 99: 8725-8730.

Porter, J.W., Dustan, P., Jaap, W.C., Patterson, K.L., Kosmynin, V., Meier, O.W., Patterson, M.E., and Parsons, M. 2001. Patterns of spread of coral disease in the Florida Keys. Hydrobiologia 460(1-3): 1-24.

Pratchett, Morgan S. 2007. Feeding Preferences of Acanthaster planci (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) under Controlled Conditions of Food Availability. Pacific Science 61(1): 113-120.

Razak, T.B. and Hoeksema, B.W. 2003. The hydrocoral genus Millepora (Hydrozoa: Capitata: Milleporidae) in Indonesia. Zoologische Verhandelingen Leiden 345: 313-336.

Sutherland, K.P., Porter, J.W., and Torres, C. 2004. Disease and immunity in Caribbean and Indo-Pacific zooxanthellate corals. Marine ecology progress series 266: 273-302.

Wallace, C. C. 1999. Staghorn Corals of the World: a revison of the coral genus Acropora. CSIRO, Collingwood.

Weil, E. 2004. Coral reef diseases in the wider Caribbean. In: E. Rosenberg and Y. Loya (eds), Coral Health and Diseases, pp. 35-68. Springer Verlag, NY.

Weil, E. 2006. Coral, Ocotocoral and sponge diversity in the reefs of the Jaragua National Park, Dominican Republic. Rev. Bio. Trop. 54(2): 423-443.

Wilkinson, C. 2004. Status of coral reefs of the world: 2004. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Willis, B., Page, C and E. Dinsdale. 2004. Coral disease on the Great Barrier Reef. In: E. Rosenber and Y. Loya (eds), Coral Health and Disease, pp. 69-104. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Citation: Guzmán, H. & Edgar, G. 2008. Millepora boschmai. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 August 2014.
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