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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 519091, 14 pages
Research Article

Histological Examination of Precious Corals from the Ryukyu Archipelago

1Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, 424 Ishikawa Motobu-Cho, Okinawa 905-0206, Japan
2Sesoko Marine Laboratory, University of the Ryukyus, Sesoko Motobu-Cho, Okinawa 905-0206, Japan
3Transdisciplinary Research Organization for Subtropical Island Studies, University of the Ryukyus, 1 Senbaru, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan

Received 25 March 2012; Accepted 9 July 2012

Academic Editor: Garth L. Fletcher

Copyright © 2012 Masanori Nonaka et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this paper we examined the histology of three commercially valuable species of precious corals (Paracorallium japonicum, Corallium elatius, and C. konojoi) from the Ryukyu Archipelago. In order to observe their inner structure, samples were thin sectioned and examined with a digital light microscope. Colonies of C. konojoi had thicker coenenchyme and larger autozooids than those of C. elatius and P. japonicum. The sclerites of the three species tended to be concentrated in the outer layers of coenenchyme. The gastric cavities of autozooids of all three species were found to be relatively empty. Some symbiotic polychates were observed in the axis of P. japonicum. As well, a zoanthid (Corallizoanthus tsukaharai) was often observed living on the coenenchyme surface of P. japonicum. It is hoped our observations will provide a good foundation of future study of Japanese Coralliidae corals.