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Acropora palifera

(Lamarck, 1816)

Colonies are encrusting plates or thick ridges, columns or branches. Branches are usually upright, but are commonly horizontal or irregular in shape, depending on exposure to wave action. There are usually no axial corallites. Corallites are smooth, rounded and exsert. The coenosteum is composed of fine spinules with elaborated tips.

Colour: Pale cream or brown.

Habitat: Occurs in all reef environments.

Abundance: The most abundant coral of the northern Great Barrier Reef where it is the dominant species of most exposed outer reef slopes. Usually less dominant elsewhere in Australia and most other countries.

Similar species: Acropora elizabethensis

Taxonomic note: Source reference: Veron (2000). Taxonomic references: Veron and Wallace (1984), Wallace (1999). Additional identification guides: Veron (1986), Nishihira and Veron (1995).

Map displaying probable distribution of species. Points indicate recorded sightings from OBIS.
Acropora palifera.  Ryukyu Islands, Japan.  Encrusting plates.  Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.Ryukyu Islands, Japan.Encrusting plates.Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Exposed to strong waves.  Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Exposed to strong waves.Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Thick ridges and branches that are exposed to moderate wave action.  Ed Lovell.

Acropora palifera.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Thick ridges and branches that are exposed to moderate wave action.Ed Lovell.

Acropora palifera.  Papua New Guinea.  Contorted flattened branches.  Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.Papua New Guinea.Contorted flattened branches.Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.  Western Australia.  Thick branches in partially sheltered habitat.  Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.Western Australia.Thick branches in partially sheltered habitat.Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.  Papua New Guinea.  Columnar branches.  Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.Papua New Guinea.Columnar branches.Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Parallel ridges  on an exposed outer reef flat.  Valerie Taylor.

Acropora palifera.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Parallel ridges on an exposed outer reef flat.Valerie Taylor.

Acropora palifera.  Madagascar.  Encrusting plates.  Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.Madagascar.Encrusting plates.Charlie Veron.

Acropora palifera.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing radial corallites.

Acropora palifera.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing radial corallites.

Acropora palifera.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing skeletal differences between adjacent colonies of A. cuneata (left) and A. palifera (right)..

Acropora palifera.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing skeletal differences between adjacent colonies of A. cuneata (left) and A. palifera (right)..

Acropora palifera.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing branch tips.

Acropora palifera.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing branch tips.

Acropora palifera.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing skeletal detail.

Acropora palifera.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing skeletal detail.

Acropora palifera.  Great Barrier Reef, Australia.  Showing branching pattern.

Acropora palifera.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Showing branching pattern.