Stony Corals (Acroporidae)
Branching Corals, Staghorn Coral, Antler Coral.
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Also known as Branching Corals, Staghorn Coral and Antler Coral.
Found in colonies, often forming thickets which can be 10 metres across, with antler like cylindrical branches.
In shallow water the branches are short and compact, in deeper water branches can be longer.
Colours vary but usually have pale branch ends.
They feed on plankton.
Width - 10m
Depth - 0-55m
Stony corals have hard stony skeletons, their polyps have six tentacles or are made up of multiples of six. These are usually nocturnal, however if the sky's are overcast, then many will feed during the day.
Generally the more robust corals life on exposed areas, while the smaller corals live in sheltered lagoons or deeper waters.
Stony corals are reef building corals and embedded in their flesh are thousands of minute single-celled marine plants called zooxanthellae which accounts for their colour.
These corals support a huge diversity of life, their main predator being the crown-of-thorns sea star.
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