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Pigmented Band Diseases

Black Band Disease, BBD (A-I)
Black or dark reddish-brown band or mat of filamentous organisms (A), peppered with white filaments (B), 1-30 mm wide, radiating out 1-20 mm/day (C-D). The band may be linear to annular (E-F) to irregular. It initiates at the colony margin or base (C) or a focal site of injury (G); in brain corals often starts at the top and spreads down (H). The band separates healthy tissue and stark white tissuedepleted skeleton. Secondary colonization of denuded skeleton by filamentous algae followed by other epibionts (H). Affects 22 scleractinian corals, 1hydrozoan coral and four octocorals.
Red Band Disease, RBD (K-O)
Thin red band of filamentous cyanobacteria loosely associated with the coral, separating tissue and white skeleton; filaments are less mat-like and do not contain white filaments (N) . A second variety consists of a mat that expands in day over tissue and skeleton and forms a discrete band at lesion margin at night (O).
Similar conditions: BBD and RBD may be difficult to distinguish; cyanobacteria may also form a mat on the surface of corals that migrates diurnally and can kill tissue; Mostly on Colpophyllia, Agaricia, Meandrina.
Caribbean Ciliate Infection, CCI (P-T)
A diffuse black or grey band, several mm up to 1-2 cm thick, with a “salt-and-pepper” speckled appearance, separating living tissue from algal colonized skeleton. May form a discrete, dark band several mm thick (acute infection) or diffuse, scattered patches on algal colonized skeleton. Ciliates visible with hand lens. May occur on colonies with white plague or WBD. Affects Montastraea, Acropora (Q-S), Diploria (T), Dichocoenia, Agaricia (22 species).
Similar conditions: CCI can be confused with BBD, DSD, and denuded skeleton colonized by epibionts.
View other Biotic Diseases, or Non-Biotic Diseases of the Western Atlantic.