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The most common Coral Species in the Red Sea
The Red Sea Coral Reef is an amazing undersea world located in between two of the hottest and most arid deserts in the world: the Sahara (Sinai-Egypt) and the Arabian (Saudi Arabia). Approximately 1,200 miles long, this reef, which is over 5,000 years old, is home to 300 hard coral species and about 1,200 fish, of which 10 percent are found only in this area. One thing to note about this coral reef is that it is strong, able to withstand a variety of elements including extreme temperature changes.
Corals of the Red Sea have been a popular attraction to divers for decades because of the sea’s clear and shallow waters full of diverse reef life. Due to the slow and restricted flow of water in the Red Sea, the corals there have a number of unique characteristics, including one of a kind shapes and intricate complexity. Here are just five species you’re likely to see on a dive.
This is the most common type of coral in the Red Sea and is characterized by its green or brown color, growing either in plates or branches. Acropora grows quickly and can grow up to a meter in length in little time if left undisturbed.
Over 149 species are described. Acropora species are some of the major reef corals responsible for building the immense calcium carbonate substructure that supports the thin living skin of a reef.
(Copied from : Science Source)
This table coral has formed large plate-like structures on this reef. This reef was found off the coast of Egypt in the Red Sea (Copied from : Sea Sky)
The biggest threat to this species in the Red Sea is bleaching, which can be seen in the bellow photo.
Tabulate acroporids are particularly susceptible to bleaching with a large surface area exposed to sunlight. Many of the larger table corals within the Baie Ternay Marine National Park are already dead with signs of algal growth upon the corals surface. (Copied from : Archipelago Images)
Alcyonacea, or soft corals, is an order of corals which do not produce calcium carbonate skeletons. Formerly known as gorgonians, they are sessile colonial cnidarians found throughout the oceans of the world, especially in the tropics and subtropics.
This beautiful coral is more commonly known as a Venus fan or a common sea fan, sea whips, sea pen, and a soft coral. As its name suggests, it takes the shape of a fan and can reach from 30 centimetres to 1.5 meters in height. The skeleton is made of calcite and flattened branches run along the flat part of the fan to hold its shape. Others may be whip like, bushy, or even encrusting. A colony can be several feet high and across but only a few inches thick. They may be brightly coloured, often purple, red, or yellow. Photosynthetic gorgonians can be successfully kept in captive reef aquariums.
There are about 500 different species of gorgonians found in the oceans of the world, but they are particularly abundant in the shallow waters of the Red Sea and western Atlantic, including Florida, Bermuda, and the West Indies.
GORGONIAN CORAL (Copied from : Sea School)
Gorgonian / Coral / Red Sea (Copied from : Framepool)
Talk Covers Deep-Sea Explorations: Sea Fans (Copied from : Westmont College)
More commonly known as sun coral, tubastrea is bright yellow or orange in color with a hard skeleton. One of the unique characteristics of tubastrea is that this type of coral extends its tentacles in the evenings. It is found in the deeper parts of the Red Sea, and is not a reef-building species.
Orange Sun Coral - Tubastrea aurea (Copied from : Aquarium Depot)
Aquarium Corals: A Look at the Sun Corals (Copied from : Advanced Aquarist)
Sun Coral – Tubastrea (Copied from : Inappropriate Reefer)
This type of coral varies in color and may be white, pink, blue, purple, or yellow. Fungia is generally round or oval in shape and resembles a mushroom. A mouth in the center of the circle is where tentacles sprout from the center of the skeleton.
Fungia granulosa Detail of a polyp. Red Sea (Copied from : Charlie Veron - Corals of the World)
Fungia fungites - Mushroom Coral (Copied from : Tim Sheerman-Chase - Flickr)
Whip coral is long and thin and looks similar to tree branches. Covered in small polyps, it is most commonly yellow or orange in color, but some variations are purple. Whip coral is also known as sea whip.
(Copied from : flickr)
Yellow whip corals and scuba diver, Ellisella sp., El Quseir, Red Sea (Copied from : Getty Images)