Five Fascinating Coral Species
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
We recently posted a coral dissection video (which you can check out here), where we discussed the anatomy of these fascinating invertebrates, as well as the huge threat climate change poses to them. But what we didn’t mention, is that there are thousands of unique species of corals, ranging from brain corals that look like tiny cerebral cortexes to tube corals that look like a bunch of purple pool noodles to staghorn corals that look like the antlers of a stag. However, since there is much known about these “mainstream” corals, here’s some more about interesting species of coral that were discovered within the past decade.
Euphyllia baliensis: Euphyllia baliensis, more commonly known as the bubble coral, is a species of large-polyped stony coral belonging to the Euphylliidae family. They are found exclusively in Bali, and are known for having extremely thin branches and the smallest corallites (cuplike skeleton of a single coral polyp) of any Euphyllia species.
Porites fontanesii: Porites is a genus of stony coral that can either grow into massive, lumpy shapes or into a branched formation. However, Porites fontanesii is unusual in that it embodies both the lumpy and branched formations characteristic of the Porites coral. Found uniquely in the red sea, as of now, Porites fontanesii is the only species of coral in the Porites family that has the particular morphology that lies between lumpy and branched.
Leptoseris troglodyta: Leptoseris troglodyta is a species of cave-dwelling azooxanthellate reef coral, unique in its ability to live in environments with dim lighting and overhang that most other corals cannot live in.
Acropora sirikitiae: Acropora sirikitiae is a species of staghorn coral found in Thailand. Carden Wallace, a staghorn coral expert, named this coral in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, Queen Regent of Thailand. This species of coral is characterized by its indeterminate growth form, which is strongly affected by environmental factors. Another interesting fact about Acropora sirkitiae is that they were thought to be another species of coral for a long time, and have only recently been discovered to be their own distinct species.
Dactylotrochus cervicornis: Last but not least, Dactylotrochus cervicornis is a robust solitary coral from the Dactylotrochus genus that lives in great depths of the ocean. They are closely related to the aforementioned Leptoseris corals, and are the only single-polyped member of the Agariciidae family. They are most well known for their unique appearance that resembles an alien’s hand.
These are just five of thousands and thousands of fascinating species of coral in existence. If you found this article interesting, I encourage you to look into more species of coral on your own. And if you didn’t watch our coral dissection video yet, make sure to check it out here, where we explain the threats coral reefs are in.