Myriapora truncata

Although we might believe it to be a coral, Myriapora truncata is actually a bryozoan, colloquially known as false coral. It is a species native to the Mediterranean Sea, and can be confused both in color and in shape and size with the red coral of the Mediterranean (Corallium rubrum).

Myriapora truncata usually forms a bushy colony of more or less spherical shape and with short regular dichotomous branches of circular section. It reaches 10 cm in diameter, and a height of approximately 15 cm. If we observe in detail the body of the specimen, we will observe a multitude of pores, which are the openings of the colonial individuals, the zooids. Its coloration is a bright orange-red color. We can find colonies of Myriapora truncata in rocky substrates not very exposed to sunlight, and between 2 and 100 meters deep.

In order to differentiate between Myriapora truncata and Corallium rubrum, we will focus on observing the ramifications. In Corallium rubrum these are irregularly thickened, and have thinner ends. Additionally, the color of Corallium rubrum is much more intense and with white polyps. Therefore, Myriapora truncata has more regular branches, with the ends of these thicker ones (appearance of the branch being cut abruptly), a not so intense orange-red color and tentacles in each of the pores of the colony of the same color as the branches.

Reproduction of Myriapora truncata occurs during the months of February and March, and is both sexual and asexual. Sexual reproduction involves the release of gametes into the water, where fertilization will occur to form a planktonic larva that will later settle on the bottom to generate a new colony. Through asexual reproduction, the individual that originated the colony divides and forms new zooids, which in turn reproduce asexually, and so on.