Common family name
Hard corals can measure up to being several square meters in size.
Hard corals vary greatly in size, shape and colour. They can be clubbed, branched, plated, fingered or domes, and some are smooth in texture whereas others are ridged. They vary in colour from orange to red, yellow, green, olive, grey and brown.
Hard corals are a part of the Scleractinia order which falls under the Hexacorallia subclass. This class includes anemones, zoanthids and black corals. Corals are reef builders and are colonies of polyps which form a communal calcium carbonate skeleton. Polyps are connected by a fleshy tissue which holds zooxanthellae algae. This gives the coral its colour and aids the building of the skeleton. They reproduce by spawning.
Hard corals feed on zooplankton.
They can be found in all tropical and temperate oceans across the world.
Cluster finger coral - Acropora digitifera
Mushroom coral - Fungia scutaria
False brain coral - Symphyllia sp.
© Johan Boshoff