Bussud, . . . ARAB. COTale, IT Ky-a-ve-kbet, . BURM. Corallium„. . . . LAT.
Culla, . . . . DUKH. PORIaM ; Karang, MALAY. Koraalen, . . . . DUT. Korallii, . . . . Rus.
Coma, FR Birbat ; Vidruma, SANSK.
Korallen, . . . . GER. Prabala, . . . „ Banana', . . . Hum Bubalo, . . . . SINGH.
Madan, H., MALAY. PERS. Pavalam, . . . . TAM. Munga, . . . . HIND. Pagadam, . . . . TEL.
Coral, as seen in the market, is the calcareous cell of a mollusc, whose flesh has been removed. It is merely carbonate of lime secreted by species of polypi, its particles cemented together by a gelatinous secretion from these animals. Marsili, an Italian naturalist, thought coral to be a marine plant, and the polype animal its flower, and Dr. Parsons entertained similar views; hence the name zoophytes, or plant animals. The polypi which make the coral so much used for ornament and jewellery, are chiefly Antipathes glaberrima, Madrepora corymbosa, M. pociilifera, Gorgonia tuberculata, two species of Astraza, Leiopathes glaberrima, and L. Latnarckii. When still alive in the sea, the rough surface is seen dotted with red spots, and a minute examination detects thousands of the polypi or coral insects, each inhabitino• permanently a little cell of its own.. Many of the polypi or coral insects have a little parasol-shaped cover for the head ; the arms are furnished with eight claws, are long compared with the body, and are generally seen extended as if searching for food. Some of the kinds of coral resemble gigantic plants, with flowers and leaves. Sonic grow like a tree with leafless branches, and others spread out, fan-like, into broad, flat surfaces.
Coral is in great abundance in the Red Sea, in the Persian and Arabian Gulfs, in various parts of the Mediterranean, at the Mauritius, on the coast of Sumatra, in Japan, etc. It is carried to China from all the islands of the Indian Archi pelago in native vessels, and is there wrought into ornaments and official knobs or buttons. It sells from 40 to 60 dollars per pikul, according to the colom-, density, and size of the fragments.
The red or precious coral, Corallium rubrunn, is gathered from the rocky bottoms of the borders of the Mediterranean or its islands, and most abundantly at 15 to 20 feet, though occurring at 1000 feet. There are independent coral fisheries on the coast of Southern Italy, off Ponza Island ; off the Gulf of Gaeta ; off Sicily, especially at Tiapani, its western extremity ; off Corsica and Sardinia, and the islands off Bonifacio ; off Algeria, south of Sardinia, near Bona, Oran ; off the Marseilles coast, and other places, which in 1853 afforded; 80,000 pounds of coral. It is iinported to some extent into India, where the most esteemed is the red coral. The pale, delicate pink colour is the most veined in England.
The coral polypi of tho E. Indies, Red Sea, Zanzibar, and Central Pacific comprise genera of the Astrmacea, Fungacea, Oculinacea, Madrepo raeea, Alcyonoids, Milleporre, and Nulliporm.
the Fiji Islands, Astrteas and Mreaudtinas or brain corals, aro abundant. Madrepores add flowering shrubbery of many kinds, be,sides large vases and spreading folia, some of these folia being over six feet in expanse. Mussm and related species produce clumps of large flowers ; Meru Echinoporm, Gemmiporm, and Momiporm form groups of gracefully infoldcd or spreading leaves ; Pavonire, Poeilliporm, Seriatoporm, and Porites, branching tufts of a. great variety of. forms ; Tubipores and Xerna, beds or masses of the most delicately-tinted pinks ; Spongioiclite, large pendent clusters of orange and crimson ; and Fungire display their broad discs in the spaces among other kinds. It will suffice here to name the inore beautiful of the coral polyps :— Coral reef corals comprise species of the Astrma tribe, and all but two of the Fungia tribe.
Of the Octdina tribe, all of the Orbicellids and Pocilloporicke, parts of the Oculinids, Styles terides, Caryophyllids, Astrangicls, and Style phorids.