Low relief lettuce coral is fairly common with a widespread distribution in the open seas of the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida, often scattered among other corals within inner bays and sometimes within mangrove roots. It can thrive from shallow sea levels to the lower depth limits of the reef, approximately 60 meters (200 feet) deep. It shows a number of growth forms, such as appearing saucer-like on cliff sides or small half-moon shaped in shallow depths. In depths deeper than 10 meters (3 feet), the coral forms broad vertical scales with corallites on one side only.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Cnidardia (C is silent) Marine group with stinging cells
- Class: Anthozoa – Flower Animal
- Order: Scleratinia – Reef building stony corals
- Family: Agariciidae – includes cactus corals, elephant skin corals, plate corals and lettuce corals. Members of the family include symbiotic algae called Zooxanthellae in their tissues which help provide their energy
- Genus: Agaricia – lettuce corals
- Species: humilis – low relief
As I mentioned in previous posts, my mother in law, Winifred (Winkie) loved collecting coral during Florida vacations in the 70’s and 80’s. My late husband, Joseph III, came from a hard working family in the 50’s living in Detroit. His dad, Joseph II, was a designer for Chrysler Corporation and designed an amphibious vehicle used in WWII.
I feel honored to have samples from her coral collection and am excited to share them with you. She would have been thrilled by this.