Abstract

Macro-endoliths in coral skeletons on reefs in Phuket, South Thailand, and South Male Atoll, Republic of the Maldives, could be separated into live- and dead-coral varieties, which had different origins and created different structures in the host skeletons. Dead coral surfaces were bored by active endoliths (euendoliths), which used mechanical and chemical means to create complex, branched and sinuous cavities that cross-cut the growth structure of the coral skeletons. Living coral was attacked mainly by passive endoliths (paraendoliths and cryptoendoliths) that embedded themselves in the live tissue and allowed the coral skeleton to grow up around them, creating straight, simple holes that paralleled the growth direction of the coral. The association of euendoliths with dead coral surfaces and para- and cryptoendoliths with live coral surfaces allows the interpretation of the relative relief of fossil bored coral colonies above soft sediment, and the relative length of time they were exposed to circulating seawater prior to burial.

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