Brown Cup Coral

Brown Cup Coral

Paracyathus stearnsi

Physical Description

The Brown Cup Coral, also known as Paracyathus stearnsi, is a solitary coral typically measuring 1-2 centimeters in diameter. It features a brown corallite with transparent tentacles. Its corallite expands upward from the base, giving it a pedestal shape, with an oval oral disc rather than round.

Habitat and Geographical Range

Found abundantly in the Monterey Bay of California, Brown Cup Corals thrive on sloped or vertical rock faces, particularly in deeper sites with low water motion. They are one of the dominant sessile invertebrates in these habitats.

Diet and Reproduction

Brown Cup Corals are filter feeders, capturing plankton and organic particles from the water using their tentacles. They reproduce by releasing planktonic planula larvae into the water column, contributing to their population growth.

Physical Threat to Humans

Brown Cup Corals do not pose a direct physical threat to humans. However, they may cause minor irritation if touched due to the presence of microscopic stinging cells on their tentacles.