Colonies are laminar or subarborescent, with these different growth-forms characteristically occurring together in large colonies. However, colonies may be composed only of plates or, in shallow water, primarily of branches. Valleys are short, straight, and spread in a fan before dividing. They radiate from the colony centre on flat surfaces, but are highly contorted on branches. Flat surfaces often have concentric growth lines. Tentacles are usually extended only at night.
A variety of pale colours, usually blue (which may photograph pink) or pale brown.
A wide variety of reef environments, especially lagoons.
Taxonomic note: This species is divisible into several smaller semi-distinct taxonomic units. Source reference: Veron (2000). Taxonomic references: Chevalier (1975), Veron and Pichon (1980). Additional identification guides: Randall and Myers (1983), Veron (1986), Nishihira and Veron (1995).
displaying probable distribution of species. Points indicate recorded sightings from OBIS.
Merulina ampliata.Houtman Abrolhos Islands, south-western Australia.Colonies sometimes consist of tiers or whorls of laminae.Ed Lovell.
Merulina ampliata.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Common colour of plate-like colony.Ed Lovell.
Merulina ampliata.Philippines.Common colour of plate-like colony.Charlie Veron.
Merulina ampliata.Papua New Guinea.Colonies composed of mixed plates and branches.Charlie Veron.