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Pillar Coral  - Dendrogyra cylindrus
Photo by Harold Hudson

Pillar coral colonies (of millions of tiny coral polyps) form numerous, heavy, cylindrical spires that grow upward from an encrusting base mass. Colors range from light tan to a golden or chocolate brown. Pillar coral colonies grow 4-10 feet high, and live between 4-65 feet.

Pillar Coral
(Dendrogyra cylindrus)

Uncommon; in south Florida, Bahamas, and the Caribbean

Reefs, flat or sloping bottoms

Nutrients provided by symbiotic algae, planktonic animals


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
One of the few hard coral polyps that are typically extended during the day, giving the pillar coral colony a "fuzzy" appearance.

Learn More
- National Marine Sanctuary Program
- National Ocean Service