The New Orange-Coral Reef

The Arrecife Naranja Orange Reef will be a new subaquatic area for divers to explore in the Parque Natural de los Acantillados de Maro-Cerro Gordo.

AXA Orange Coral ReefSo, what is the orange reef? Astroides calycularis is a colonial coral, consisting of a group of polyps, each of which sits in a stony cup known as a calyx.

The colonies are 25 to 30 cm in diameter and 10 cm and each polyp is about 1 to 2 cm in diameter. The polyps are orange, hence the name, each with a fringe of about thirty very short tentacles surrounding a slit-shaped mouth.

A. calycularis is found on rocks and walls, under overhangs and in submarine caves at depths down to about 70 m. In suitable locations, colonies can cover 90% of the available substrate.

Pollution is a big problem for this species, as is the increased sea temperatures, not to mention the proliferation of invasive exotic species, such as the Asian brown algae Rugulopteryx Okamurae, which is advancing very quickly and extensively along the Andalusian coastline since 2016.

For this reason, the Coral Naranja is included in the National Catalogue of Endangered Species under the category of vulnerable.

However, we don’t have to confront this problem with resignation and things can be done to counter the problems it faces. NGOs (Imagin and HYT) have developed new techniques that make a contribution to the survival of this species and are being successfully applied in the creation of artificial reefs.

This has been created in the protected area off the Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo, lying between Nerja and Almuñécar, giving the area the first Corales Naranjas in Europe. Not only have they created underwater coral gardens on the Almuñécar side of the protected area, but they are also doing the same in Maro 500 metres off the Playa del Molino de Papel.

If things go well, the end plan is to create a submarine corridor connecting the new coral colonies along the Andalusian coastline.

(News/Noticias: Maro, Nerja, Axarquia, Costa del sol, Malaga, Andalucia)

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