The Staghorn Coral (Acropora muricata) is a marine (saltwater) branching, acroporid stony coral in the Acroporidae family. Coral is an animal, not a plant.
The Staghorn Coral can be blue, brown, or cream-coloured. It has cyclindrical branches that look like the antlers of a stag, a male deer.
It grows from 200-1,000 centimetres (79-394 inches) across.
It is found in the waters of the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, Pacific Ocean, the East China Sea, and around Australia, Japan, and Southest Asia.
It prefers shallow reefs and lagoons.
It grows in colonies. Individual colonies can be both male and female, which is called a simultaneous hermaphrodite. To reproduce, it can grow when branches break off and land in the soil. Another way that it can reproduce is by releasing million of gametes (cells). The cells become larvae. The coral larvae, called planula, live in the plankton for several days until they find a new place to settle and grow a new colony.
Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM