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Staghorn Coral  - Acropora cervicornis
Photo by FKNMS

Staghorn coral colonies form antler-like racks of cylindrical branches that often grow in tangled bunches. The branch surface is covered in small, tubular corallites, with colors ranging from brown to yellow-brown. Staghorn coral grows in 1-8 foot bunches, and lives between 1-160 feet. < i>Acropora< /i> corals grow fast in order to shade out other corals and gain more space on the reef. But fast is relative in the coral world; a colony of Staghorn coral may only grow four inches (10 cm) per year.

Staghorn Coral
(Acropora cervicornis)

Florida, Bahamas, and the Caribbean

Reefs or sand

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
Staghorn coral is very fragile, and divers should be very careful not to bump it.

Learn More
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- National Marine Fisheries Service