831 species

Acropora prolifera

(Lamarck, 1816)


Oken, 1815

Characters: Colonies are branching with compact, horizontally spread sub-branches occurring towards the extremities of main branches. Axial corallites are elongate. Radial corallites are tubular and irregular in length.

Colour: Tan or pale brown with white branch tips.

Similar Species: Colonies may resemble small A. palmata in having closely compacted (elkhorn-like) sub-branches towards the ends of main branches. Main branches and corallites are similar to those of A. cervicornis.

Habitat: Very shallow reef slopes and lagoon margins.

Abundance: Uncommon.

Taxonomic Note: Vollmer and Palumbi (2002) found that morphotypes historically given the name Acropora prolifera are hybrids of Acropora cervicornis and A. palmata, with colony morphologies depending on which parent species provides the egg. Acropora prolifera colonies can reproduce asexually and form long-lived, potentially immortal hybrids. We retain it here because it exhibits differences in morphology from other Caribbean Acropora, in accord with Wallace, Done and Muir (2012).

Taxonomic References: Veron (2000a); Wallace, Done and Muir (2012);

Identification Guides: Humann (2002);

COTW History since Veron (2000a)
  • Family: All families are currently under review
  • Genus/species: No change