Photo copyright Tim Nicholson.
Taken on Abu Dabbab in the Egyptian Red Sea.
Table Coral, Acropora
Acropora corals are distinctive - no other corals resemble their complex branching structure, which provides ideal habitat for many coral reef organisms. Elkhone coral, Acropora palmata, is a yellowish-brown branching coral that looks remarkably liek the antlers of an elk. Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is a yellowish brown branching coral looking like the antlers of a dear. In terms of size, Acropora corals range from a dinner plate to a family car.
Acropora species appear to be among the fastest growing corals, with upward growth between 10 and 20 cm per year.
Acropora is usually branched, except when young, but the size and shape of the branches vay according to the species.