There’s a lot of coral awesomeness in Japan, for some reason it is home to the northernmost coral reef ever found, as well as one of the single largest coral colonies yet documented. And here again we have procured this video of a sprawling thicket of coral which seems to be comprised primarily of two species of Acropora in a never ending carpet of living coral branches.
Sure there are coral thickets and monospecific stands of staghorns corals in many places of the world, but this living heap of coral colonies seems to just be growing in such a huge pile that the underlying structure, the substrate, is all but obscured. The video quality leaves a lot to be desired, especially the resolution to determine what specie(s) are involved in this ‘Coral henge’, but surely there is something about the ecology of coral reefs in the northwestern Pacific reefs of Japan that are relatively sheltered from disturbance.
Even in the Caribbean, below about 12.5 degrees of latitude which is known as the hurricane belt, coral reefs south of there experience such infrequent storms that single species can grow into massive sizes, but at the expense of species diversity. We tend to hear about all the wacky and exotic looking fish that are endemic to Japan so much more than the coral, but coral reef fish and scleractinia go hand in hand so it’s not truly all that surprising that Japan is rich with luxuriant coral gardens too.