Elkhorn coral

Elkhorn coral
Elkhorn coral
Phylum Cnidaria (hydroids, jellyfish, corals, sea anemones, black corals and gorgonians)
Acropora palmata
0 to 60 ft
Colonies grow in flat branching structures that resemble the antlers of elk, giving this coral its name. It is tan to yellow-brown in color, with the edges paling to white. The texture is hard and bumpy, although this coral is actually extremely fragile. Polyps protrude from each of the "bumps", which resemble tiny upturned noses. Elkhorn coral is found throughout the Caribbean, including the Cayman Islands. Requiring constant water movement, it generally inhabits the windward sides of islands. In Grand Cayman it is abundant in East End and along the south side of the island where it forms large stands covering acres of shallow reef.

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