Staghorn coral are sessile, colonial invertebrates.
Their anemone-like polyps feed at night and retract into the calcified
coral skeleton during the day. Acropora polyps are symbiotic
with a type of algae called zooxanthellae, from which they receive oxygen
and energy. The algae are sheltered by the coral and use the carbon dioxide
and other coral waste as nutrients.
Acropora sp. colonies can live for centuries, but individual coral polyps usually live for 2 to 3 years.
The genus Acropora is extremely speciose and the largest extant reef-building coral genus. Recent revisions of the genus recognize approximately 180 different species.
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