Coral spawning in the Gulf of Mexico, off Texas coast, USA

These photographs of the coral spawning were taken in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas in the United States in the reserve of Flower Garden to 160 kilometers (100 miles) of the coast. This phenomenon can be observed every year during the night approximately 7 to 10 days after the full moon of August. The largest coral colonies are brain corals. The male corals release their "seed" which looks like smoke while the corals females release their eggs in full water. It is an annual phenomenon and perfectly synchronized: the males release their seed approximately 15 to 20 minutes after the females finished “to lay”. The eggs will be fertilized in full water in the currents of the Gulf of Mexico. Each coral species has its own window to reproduce and the others will wait until this window is finished for releasing in their turn their seed. The reproduction of the coral is done by successive waves depending on the species. The phenomenon of reproduction depends on the temperature, the lunar cycle, the hour of the night.

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