Also known as Branching Coral, Butternut Stylophora Coral, Cluster Coral, False Finger Coral, Hood Coral, Smooth Cauliflower Coral.
Found in shallow waters often exposed to strong wave action over channels and reef flats of fringing reefs. Colonies are usually short and stocky with forked blunt ended branches.
Colour varies from cream, blue and pink.
They feed on plankton.
Length - 20cm
Depth - 0-35m
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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stylophora_pistillata