A total of 140 species of stony coral, nearly all scleractinians, are traded worldwide, with the best
estimate of annual global trade ranging between 11 and 12 million pieces. Although difficulties associated with accurate coral identification probably make species data less reliable for corals than for fish, it is clear that species in seven genera (Trachyphyllia, Euphyllia, Goniopora, Acropora, Plerogyra, Catalaphyllia) are the most popular, accounting for approximately 56 per cent of the live coral trade between 1988 and 2002. Sixty-one species of soft coral are also traded, amounting to close to 390,000 pieces per year Sarcophyton spp. (leather/mushroom/ toadstool coral) and Dendronephthya spp. (carnation coral) are two of the most commonly traded species. However, whilst the biology of the former makes it a hardy, fast-growing and easily propagated species under aquarium conditions, Dendronephthya spp. usually die within a few weeks, mainly due to the fact that they lack photosynthetic symbionts and rely on filtering particles and nutrients in the water column for food.
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