The appearance of Diploria labyrinthiformis (Linnaeus, 1758) recalls the shape and pattern of the outer surface of brains of higher animals:
Each valley is inhabited by a single long polyp with many mouths which are arranged serially or in a row along the valley, and all surrounded by a single shared set of tentacles.
The valleys are:
Valleys are separated from each other by thick ridges that are sometimes called ambulacra or, more strictly, inter-corallite tissue or coenosteum.
Valley length can vary greatly within colonies, between colonies, and in different environments.
The precise factors controlling valley branching, and the number and length of valleys, in relation to colony size are not yet understood.
Ridges are usually as wide or wider than the valleys - up to 15mm wide.
The profile across the top of the ridges is U-shaped (concave), with edges 2-4mm higher than the rest of the ridge.
Coralla consist of two levels of coloniality (cf. modularity) as colonies grow by:
Colonies can grow up to approximately 1m in diameter.
Learn about the pattern and appearance of costosepta - structures consisting of plates (septa) that form crests (costae) across the valley walls, and get information about the internal structure of colonies.