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Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Scleractinia > Family Acroporidae > Montipora sp.
Montipora corals
Montipora sp.

Family Acroporidae
updated Nov 2019
Where seen? These corals are often seen on many of our Southern shores. As a group, various Montipora species are found from deep water to clear reefs as well as lagoons with murky waters. Some species are relatively fast growing.

Features: Colonies may be plate-like, branching, encrusting to somewhat spherical. Sometimes, the same species may have different growth forms, even one colony may have different shapes. In branching forms, the branch tips are usually white and smooth, lacking polyps. In plate-like forms, the edges usually paler, smooth and lacking polyps.

Corallites and polyps are tiny (0.2-0.5cm or smaller). Polyps look like tiny sea anemones, with short body column and short tentacles. When expanded, the tiny polyps of some species give a fuzzy appearance. Thus, they are sometimes called velvet corals. But in other species, the polyps are so tiny that the colony appears smooth and stony. The polyps are usually only extended at night.

There are probably several different species on these pages.
It's hard to distinguish them without close examination of small features. On this website, they are grouped by large external features for convenience of display.

Role in the habitat: Montipora corals are among the important building blocks of a reef. Together with Acropora coral (Acropora sp.), another member of the Family Acroporidae, montipora corals account for one-third of reef-building coral species. Those with branching forms provide shelter for all kinds of animals including seahorses, tiny clams and all kinds of crabs.

Human uses: Montipora corals are taken from the wild for the live aquarium trade and wild colonies are often taken from the natural reefs to supply this demand. There are efforts to cultivate some of the hardier, faster-growing Montipora species for the live aquarium trade so as to reduce collection pressure from the wild. Although captive bred corals are healthier and easier to care for than wild collected specimens, captive bred corals are more expensive.

Status and threats: Some of our Montipora corals are listed as threatened on the IUCN global listing. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors, and over-collection by hobbyists also have an impact on local populations.

Seahorse in a branching montipora.
Sisters Islands, Nov 03

Machine gun shrimp in a branching montipora.
Cyrene Reef, Aug 10

Coral clams wedged among the branches.
Sisters Island, Dec 05

Some Montipora corals on Singapore shores

Montipora species recorded for Singapore
from Danwei Huang, Karenne P. P. Tun, L. M Chou and Peter A. Todd. 30 Dec 2009. An inventory of zooxanthellate sclerectinian corals in Singapore including 33 new records,
**the species found on many shores in Danwei's paper.
*Groups based on in Veron, Jen. 2000. Corals of the World.
in red are those listed as threatened on the IUCN global list.

  Montipora corals seen awaiting identification
Montipora species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display
  Branching montipora
Plate montipora
Ridged montipora

  Family Acroporidae
Genus Montipora*
  Group 1: Plate-like with conspicuously radiating coenostreum ridge
Montipora foliosa

Group 2: Plate-like colony (laminar) without conspicuous ridges in the area between the corallites (coenosteum)
Montipora aequituberculata**
Montipora capricornis
Montipora crassituberculata

Group 3: Encrusting or boulder-shaped (massive) with prominent bumps on the area between the corallites (prominent coenosteum tuberculae)
Montipora monasteriata**
Montipora tuberculosa
Montipora undata

Group 4: Encrusting or boulder-shaped (massive) with little bumps grouped around the corallite (prominent thecal papillae)
Montipora corbettensis
Montipora efflorescens
(Near Threatened)
Montipora grisea**
Montipora informis**
Montipora peltiformis
(Near Threatened)

Group 5: Encrusting or boulder-shaped (massive) without tiny bumps (without exsert papillae)
Montipora mollis
Montipora spongodes
Montipora spumosa

Montipora turgescens

Group 6: Encrusting with very small corallites
Montipora hoffmeisteri

Group 7: With funnel-shaped (faveolate) corallites
Montipora angulata
Montipora venosa
(Near Threatened)

Group 8: With large bumps on the area between the corallites (large coenosteum tuberculate forming verrucae)
Montipora danae**
Montipora hispida
Montipora verrucosa

Group 10: Forming fine branches with a smooth area between the corallites (coenosteum)
Montipora digitata

Group 11: Forming fine branches with coenosteum ridges
Montipora stellata**



  • Danwei Huang, Karenne P. P. Tun, L. M Chou and Peter A. Todd. 30 Dec 2009. An inventory of zooxanthellate sclerectinian corals in Singapore including 33 new records (pdf). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement No. 22: 69-80.
  • Veron, Jen. 2000. Corals of the World Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia. 3 volumes.
  • Chou, L. M., 1998. A Guide to the Coral Reef Life of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 128 pages.
  • Erhardt, Harry and Daniel Knop. 2005. Corals: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 305 pp.
  • Borneman, Eric H. 2001. Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry and Natural History T.F. H Publications. 464 pp
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Ng, P. K. L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore. The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.
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