Also known as Branching Coral, Brocolli Coral, Cauliflower Coral, Colonial Coral, Colonial Stony Coral, Cotton Candy Pocillopora Coral, Rasp Coral.
Found in colonies, on exposed shallow reef fronts over lagoons, coral and rocky reefs. Branches radiate from initial point of growth. Colours vary.
They feed on algae and plankton.
Length - 17cm
Depth - 0-27m
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. (edit) Ref: http://www.coralsoftheworld.org/species_factsheets/species_factsheet_summary/pocillopora-meandrina/