Scleractinian Coral Exoskeletons: Surface Microarchitecture and Attachment Scar Patterns

Science  04 Sep 1970:
Vol. 169, Issue 3949, pp. 978-980
DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3949.978


Scanning electron microscopic studies have revealed the configurations of the growth surfaces of scleractinian coral exoskeletons. Skeletal surfaces exhibit profuse growths of minute elongate aragonite crystals which, on basal and mural surfaces, are punctuated by scars. It is suggested that these scars are sites of attachment for the specialized processes that connect the living tissues of polyps to the nonliving skeleton. Patterns formed by the attachment scars are taxonomically significant.