831 species

Pocillopora damicornis

(Linnaeus, 1758)


Lamarck, 1816

Characters: Colonies are compact clumps reaching several metres across. There is no clear distinction between verrucae and branches as these intergrade with each other. Branches are highly compact and sturdy in habitats exposed to strong wave action and are thin and open in deep or protected habitats.

Colour: Usually pale brown, greenish or pink.

Similar Species: Pocillopora aliciae which has sturdy, flattened branches with rounded ends. Also P. acuta which has finer branches with pointed ends.

Habitat: Occurs in all shallow water habitats from exposed reef fronts to mangrove swamps and wharf piles.

Abundance: Common.

Taxonomic Note: A species complex. See discussion in Overview of coral taxonomy. There are significant differences between this species in the far eastern Pacific and elsewhere in its recorded range. Paz-García, Aldana-Moreno, Cabral-Tena et al. (2015) show that environmental conditions can induce the distinctive morphology of the nominal species Pocillopora inflata from otherwise normal P. damicornis. This has not been observed elsewhere in the distribution of P. damicornis.

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