Coral taxonomy

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General form

The plasticity in general form that many hard corals exhibit is bewildering to the beginner. The best way to start learning taxa is with smaller, more synapomorphic characters. These are the basic groups we requested you learn:

  • Acropora (Acroporidae): presence of large terminal polyp with pore; form mostly branching/staghorn-like
  • Porites (Poritidae): massive blocks, with very fine pores
  • Goniopora (Poritidae): long polyps, with 24 short tentacles, anemone-like
  • Euphyllia (Euphylliidae): terminal of tentacles distinctly `anchor-shaped'
  • Fungidae: free-living, disc/boomerang-shaped corals, mushroom gill-like septa
  • Favidae: generally large, unconnected polyps, honeycomb-like
  • Mussidae: 'Brain corals', corallites raised, septa fat
  • Pocilloporidae: 'Cauliflower corals'

Common taxa on the Sapi reef