Acropora White Syndromes
General Diagnostics: Lesions on elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) and staghorn coral (A. cervicornis) characterized by recent tissue loss separating live tissue and algal-colonized skeleton; no evidence of color change; absence of a pigmented band, no skeletal damage or abnormal growth. Lesions may be focal, multifocal, coalescing, linear or annular. The lesion location, shape and pattern of spread are unique for each syndrome. Snails or fireworms may occur on lesions and they also cause similar patterns of tissue loss.
White Band Disease (WBD) (A-E)
White Patch Disease (WPD) (F-I)
Uncharacterized Rapid Tissue Loss (L,M)
Fireworm predation (J-K)
Resembles WBD type II; tissue loss confined to branch tips. Recent lesions lack algal colonization; tissue margin is smooth and not sloughing.
Snail predation (N)
Advances in a linear or annular pattern like WBD, but lesions have a serpiginous scalloped or undulating margin the shape of the snail’s shell; snails are on the lesion or at the colony perimeter.
Damselfish bites (O-P)
Round to irregular, focal, multifocal or coalescing, small (1-3 cm) but expanding lesions often with broken corallites; may form “chimneys”.
Parrotfish predation (Q-R)
Irregular loss of tissue and underlying skeleton often at the edge of the branch; scrape marks and jaw pattern may be visible.