Red Corals: A Rare and Extremely Valuable Species of Coral

Red Corals: A Rare and Extremely Valuable Species of Coral

Author: Damir Kapustic

Scientifically known as Corallium rubrum, red corals are rare marine creatures that have great ecological importance and cultural value. The common color for red corals is deep red although they can range from orange to dark red in different shades. They have a hard skeleton made up of branches formed by calcium carbonate.

The growth rate of red coral is very slow – approximately 0.3-1 cm per year; hence, it is vulnerable to over exploitation due to its slow reproduction process. Sexual reproduction takes place when eggs and sperm are released into the water where fertilization occurs followed by attachment of larvae on solid objects until they become adult colonies which then feed themselves through filtering plankton and other organic matters using tentacles.

Red corals can live for many years even more than one century with thicker branches measuring several centimeters in diameter being indications of older age thus making such specimen highly precious.

Why Are Red Corals Red?

The coloration of red coral mainly comes from natural pigments contained in their calcium carbonate skeleton. Carotenoids are the major pigments that give these organisms a reddish, orange or pink hue while there also exist other minerals like iron or manganese within the skeletons which may influence their colors e.g., presence of iron contributes towards deeper redness.

Coral reefs found at greater depths where light intensity is lower, exhibit different shades compared to those growing in shallower waters. Genetic factors play significant roles too concerning this matter whereby various kinds having diverse shades such as reds, oranges, pinks etc., occur among same species (Corallium rubrum); occasionally there may occur genetic mutation resulting into unusual or scarce types having different colors.

Jewelry Made From Coral

Because they are beautiful and scarce, jewelers greatly love using them; necklaces, bracelets, earrings among others can be made out of them. In most cultures, these organisms are considered as good luck charms that protect people from harm or danger hence, they have been used since ages back even during prehistoric times when people used to wear them around their necks for safety reasons.

Red corals (Corallium rubrum) are expensive because of many factors. The deep red color is one reason why this type of coral is so valuable; other colors include orange and dark red which are also highly sought after by jewelers worldwide. Red corals only grow in certain areas such as the Mediterranean Sea and parts of the Atlantic Ocean making them very rare indeed.

Depending on size, coloration and processing quality high grade red coral can cost anywhere between several hundred dollars up to thousands per gram while rare pieces with older specimens could fetch anything from a few thousand dollars right through tens of thousands!

Red Coral Reefs

Unlike tropical corals that form large reefs, red corals (Corallium rubrum) create smaller colonies but these still have ecological significance in some places like the Mediterranean Sea and parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Though not forming big reef structures like other types do; small localized colonies provide homes for many marine animals including fish, invertebrates and algae where they serve as crucial sections within ecosystems helping maintain biodiversity levels by providing micro environments for different kinds of species living together.

Red corals are most commonly found in the Mediterranean Sea and parts of the Atlantic Ocean, including the coasts of Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and north Africa. They grow at 10 to 300 meters deep, usually in dark caves or on shaded rocks.

Threats and Protection

The red corals face risk with their slow growth rate and overharvesting leading to a decline in population numbers. This is worsened by excessive fishing practices as well as destructive collection methods which put these animals more at danger. There exist international laws such as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) that controls trade on red corals so as not to let them go extinct.

Some countries have put down quotas plus seasonal restrictions for gathering red coral which allows for its regeneration back into the wild. Moreover, people are doing researches about how they can cultivate corals under controlled conditions instead of getting them from nature now that it has been realized that this could be an alternative source for jewelry making industry.

To know more about all types of corals, read our article "Coral and Coral Reefs: Discover Everything About These Fascinating Marine Organisms."

These organisms are valuable because they have ecological importance but also, they are fascinating due to their beauty; therefore, we should protect them dearly. If we want sustainable utilization in future then marine ecosystems will need preserving by us through safeguarding such kind of species like red corals too.