63 photos - 46 species


2015: Due to fishing, climate change and environmental damage,

corals are coming under increasing pressure worldwide.

Destroyed coral reefs can be found all over the world's oceans.

The Great Barrier Reef, for example, has seen its coral density

fall from 28% to 13.8% in the last 27 years, which is more than half.

Coral reefs are one of the most fascinating and species-rich

communities on our planet.

It is a community of organisms that have developed very different abilities and characteristics.

A coral reef can form anywhere where the sea floor is close

enough to the sea surface, where there is enough light

for the corals and the water temperature is between 20 and 30 degrees centigrade.

These conditions are only limited within the latitudes 25°N to 25°S,

the so-called reef belt.

Outside this zone, there are only isolated cold-water reefs.

It took a very long time for corals to be recognised as animals,

because the similarity of sea anemones to a flower

led to them being mistaken for plants until the 18th century.

A - Z

Acropora cervicornis

Staghorn coral

Size: 30 - 240 cm

Depth: 0.3 - 50 m

Antler-shaped colonies.

Fragile cylindrical branches, often tangled.

Brown to yellow-brown in colour.

Polyps are usually retracted during the day

Under normal conditions they grow 12 to 15 cm per year.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

 Acropora hemprichii

Acropora hemprichii

 Open, bush-like thickets, their side branches become irregularly thick.

Beige to blue-violet in colour.

Size up to 1.5 m in diameter.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Acropora humilis

Finger coral

 Their calyxes are arranged in rows.

They are found on upper reef slopes and outer reef tops.

Grow up to 20 cm in diameter.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Acropora hyacinthus

Stone coral

 Up to 2 metres in diameter, forming large, flat canes.

Their many branches are relatively short, their ends curved upwards.

They can be found on reef tops and reef platforms.

Rays, bottom sharks and various fish species are often seen at the base of the table.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bali Indonesia

Acropora lamarcki

Acropora lamarcki

 It forms horizontal tables.

Size up to 2 metres in diameter.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Acropora pharaonis

Acropora pharaonis

 Their branches are looser in deep water.

Is readily accepted as a home by the lemon goby.

Size up to 1.5 m in diameter.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Acropora prolifera

Fused staghorn coral

 Size: 30 - 120 cm

Depth: 0.3 - 30 m

Like Acropora cervicornis ( see above ) but the branch tips have fused to form plates.

However, individual tips are still recognisable.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Agaricia agaricites

Purple lettuce coral

 Size: 10 - 90 cm

Depth 1 - 72 m

Thick crusts or hemispherical, with edges of different heights.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Agaricia fragilis

Fragile saucer coral or Constricted leaf coral

 Size: 10 - 15 cm

Depth: 6 - 54 m

Forms small, thin, saucer-shaped colonies.

Colour: greenish brown, yellow-brown, chocolate brown and purple-brown.

Smooth underside, brittle.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Agaricia grahamae

Graham's sheet coral

 Size: 50 cm

Depth: 10 - 76 m

Rusty brown in colour, usually with a light edge.

A special feature is the light colour of the polyps,

which stand out very well against the brown colour of the coral.

It forms flat plates.

Common in the Caribbean

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Agaricia lamarcki

Lamarck's sheet coral

 Size: 30 - 180 cm

Depth 4 - 45 m

Large thin leaves or flat plates, often overlapping like shingles on the reef slope.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Alveopora tizardi

Daisy coral, Stony coral or Flowerpot coral

 Size 20 cm

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Annella mollis

Giant gorgonian sea fan, Gorgonian fan or Giant sea fan

This species can reach truly gigantic dimensions.

They grow up to 4 metres in height and up to 3 metres in width.

Variable colours: from orange to pink and cream.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Photos 2 - 5 Johnny: Bali Indonesia

Danafungia horrida

Klunzinger's Mushroom coral

 Maximum diameter: 6 cm

Flat and round coral disc.

They are brown to rust-red in colour.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North - Sulawesi

Dendrogyra cylindrus

Pillar coral

Size: up to 3 m high

Depth: 0 - 25 m

Their polyps are always open, even during the day.

Light to dark brown in colour.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Diploria labyrinthiformis

Grooved brain coral, Labyrinthine brain coral

or Depressed brain coral

 Size: 30 - 120 cm

Depth: 1 - 40 m

Hemispherical heads with narrow, deep furrows surrounded by wide edges.

Colour variants: Brown, yellow-brown and brownish grey.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Euplexaura sp.

Sea fan

Maximum 40 cm

Never form a close-meshed network.

Active day and night.

Found in medium water depths.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Eusmilia fastigiata

Eusmilia fastigiata

 Size: 25 cm

Depth: 0 - 60 m

It is the only one of its kind and lives in the Caribbean.

In addition to light, it also utilises planktonic food.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Fungia fungites

Common Mushroom coral

 Maximum diameter: 20 cm

They use their polyps to catch plankton at night.

Their colour varies from grey-green to yellow-brown and even pink.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bali Indonesia

Fungia sp.

Mushroom coral

 Maximum diameter: 15 cm

It owes its name to its purple colour.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives

Photo 2 Johnny: Bali Indonesia

Goniopora albiconus

Stony coral

The polyps of this species have a large, white and conical oral disc surrounded

by fine and thin tentacles.

It has 24 tentacles, other species have 12.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North - Sulwesi

Herpolitha limax

Tongue coral, Slipper coral, Boomerang coral

or Striate boomerang coral

 Maximum length: 62 cm

Depth: 2 - 54 m

Elongated with rounded ends, several mouth openings.

Often forked.

Live in lagoons and on outer reef slopes.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Madracis myriaster

Stony coral

This coral is a stony coral from the family of large polyp stony corals, that originally comes

from the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.

There, the coral, which can grow up to 100 cm in size,

can be found at depths of between 20 and 1200 metres.

As a rule, this species does not grow as quickly as other large-polyped species.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Meandrina meandrites

Maze coral

 Size: 35 cm

Depth: 0.5 - 80 m

Threatened with extinction.

It is mainly found on the outer coral reef slopes

in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

They form hemispherical heads or develop into large flat plates

and can reach a diameter of almost 1 metre.

Some small colonies are cone-shaped

and not attached to the substrate.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Millepora complanata

Bladed fire coral

Size: 50 cm

Depth: 0 - 55 m

It owes its name to the cnidocytes, which are capable of damaging human skin

and injecting a painful poison

The wounds can become infectious and even leave scars.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Millepora alcicornis

Branching coral or Encrusting firecoral

Size: 3 - 40 cm

Depth 0 - 15 m

They form upright, thin plates or leaves.

Brownish to mustard yellow and brown, white leaf edges.

Toxic, contact with skin causes intense pain, but this usually only lasts for a short time.

Wheals and rashes can develop.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Millepora dichotoma

Net fire coral

Width: up to 100 cm

It nettles very strongly, pustules can be a faithful companion for days.

Plankton eater.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Montastraea cavernosa

Stony coral

 Size: 200 cm

Depth: 0 - 110 m

These are robust, mostly spherical growing stony corals.

It is one of the most important reef-building corals in the Caribbean.

Photos 1 - 3 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Mycedium elephantotus

Green eyed cup coral or Elephant nose coral

Size up to 1 m

Found below the wave zone with moderate current. 

Photo 1 Johnny: El Quesir Egypt

Mycetophyllia aliciae

Knobby cactus coral

 Size: up to 60 cm

Depth: 0 - 70 m

The coral has a flat, thin and almost circular shape.

It occurs in all reef areas and needs a good current.

Not common.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Mycetophyllia danaana

Lowridge cactus coral

 Size: 25 - 30 cm

Depth: 20 - 76 m

Colonies are solid, rounded plates.

Colour: Usually combinations of pink, green and grey, with valleys and walls in contrasting colours.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Platygyra daedalea

Brain coral or Lesser valley coral

 They have irregular crusts or are solid, with thick walls.

They have rough ribs.

Reach a diameter of 2 metres.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Porites porites

Clubbed finger coral or Club tip finger coral

Size: 30 - 120 cm.

Depth 1 - 50 m

Smooth branches.

There are three forms of this species.

1) Strong, irregular, stocky branches with blunt, often thickened ends.

2) Finger-like, widely spaced branches that are often split at the ends.

3) Finger-like, densely packed branches.

Colour variations: brown, grey, beige to yellow-brown, grey with purple tones.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Pseudodiploria strigosa

Brain coral or Symmetrical brain coral

 Size: 15 - 180 cm

Depth 1 - 40 m

Slabs with smooth contours to hemispherical domes.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Scolymia cubensis

Artichoke coral

Size: 3 - 10 cm

Depth 9 - 78 m

Single, large, round to oval, fleshy type.

Colour variations: dark grey to brown, green and blue-green.

Their polyp tentacles are retracted during the day.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Scolymia lacera

Atlantic mushroom coral

 Maximum size 6 cm

Maximum depth: 10 - 80 m

At home in reefs and lagoons on hard substrates, as well as in areas with soft substrate, up to a range of 80 m, but mostly at depths of 15 - 25 m

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Scolymia wellsii

Button scolly

 Maximum size: 10 cm

Maximum depth: 10 - 40 m

Very sensitive to currents, therefore always under reef tops and other sheltered areas.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Siderastrea radians

Lesser starlet coral or Rough starlet coral

Size: 10 - 30 cm

Depth: 0 - 30 m

Slabs or small irregular domes. 

Often whitish to light grey, also light yellow-brown.

On rock or sand.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Siderastrea stellata ( Massive Sternchenkoralle )

Brazilian starlet coral

 Size: 25 cm

Depth: 0 - 65 m

Huge colonies.

Occasionally they occur as free-living, mobile spheres.

Corallites are rounded and flat and have a diameter of 2.5 to 3.5 millimetres.

Septa have curved upper edges and are granulated.

Most are not fused and do not form distinct cycles.

Reddish brown with light-coloured walls.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Solenastrea bournoni

Smooth star coral

Size: 10 - 45 cm.

Depth 1.5 - 18 m

Edges protrude clearly, which makes the coral look pimply.

Cream-coloured to light yellow-brown.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Solenastrea hyades

Knobby star coral

Size: up to 530 cm

There are only 2 species: Solenastrea Bournoni,

see one picture above and this one.

It forms massive colonies with hemispherical domes,

the surface of which is slightly irregular or smooth.

Rare coral.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Stephanocoenia intersepta

Blushing star coral

Size 15 - 75 cm

Depth 3 - 40 m

They form reasonably smooth blocks or domes.

Colour variations: Yellow-brown to brownish, brown or grey.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Stylophora pistillata

Smooth cauliflower coral

 Brown to purple.

Finger-like, with terminal branching.

Colonises outer reef slopes with moderate currents, as well as lagoons.

Can be seen down to a depth of 20 metres.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Thalamophyllia riisei

Baroque cave coral

Size: 2 cm

Depth: 4 - 1300 m

Usually lives on shady, vertical rock surfaces and in crevices and caves.

Live solitary and in larger groups without connection to each other.

Little is known about this species and the depths at which they live,

as there is varying information.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Tubastraea micranthus

Black tube coral or Black coral

 Maximum diameter: 1 m

Dark brown to green bushes.

The only reef-building coral without zooxanthellae.

Colonises reef edges and shady overhangs in current-rich reefs.

Diet: Large plankton and salps.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Turbinaria reniformis

Yellow scroll coral

Colonies in rows or sheets.

Conical polyp calyxes.

Yellow-green in colour.

Colonises clear, semi-protected slopes with moderate currents.

Diameter up to 3 metres.

Photo 1 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt

Photo 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt