The invasive snowflake coral (Carijoa riisei) is taking hold in the waters off the Indian coast and could be a significant threat to the marine ecology of the region. Teams from a Friends of Marine Life (FML), a local NGO,have recorded invasive, fast growing alien species amid barnacle clusters on the rocky reef off the coast Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the southern Indian state of Keralaand, and Kanyakumari on the southern tip of the country.
The snowflake coral is known to inhabit reefs and underwater structures such as shipwrecks and piers, attaching itself to metal, concrete and even plastic. It is considered an invasive species because of its capacity to dominate space and crowd out other marine organisms.
A native of the tropical Western Atlantic and the Caribbean, C.riisei was first reported as an invasive species in Hawaii in 1972. Since then, it has spread to Australia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The featured image of this post was taken in Raja Ampat just last week. In India, it has been reported from the Gulf of Myanmar, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gulf of Kutch and Goa. [via The Hindu]