species: Acropora muricata in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Acropora muricata

©Anne Hoggett: A large stand of Acropora muricataon Reef 14-141 near Lizard Island in 2009.

©Anne Hoggett: A large stand of Acropora muricata on Reef 14-141 near Lizard Island in 2009.

©Anne Hoggett: Acropora muricata at Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island, in 2009. Identified by Zoe Richards
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Cnidaria
Class Hexacorallia
Order Scleractinia
Family Acroporidae
Genus Acropora
Species Acropora muricata
Status insufficient data to assess



Distinguishing features

Sturdy branches forming a thicket, tubular radial corallites with smaller corallites facing different directions. (Contributed by Zoe Richards)

This species has a staghorn morphology, with long tapering branches and an open growth form. Usually cream, light brown or blue. There is a lot of morphological variation in A. muricata and it is likely to be a species complex. The axial polyp is small and lightly coloured, while radial corallites tend to be various sizes, with the form of the larger ones tubular or slightly dimidiate. Distinguish from Acropora intermedia by the slightly smaller radial corallites with more tubular or slightly dimidiate calice openings in Acropora muricata, and the presence of radial corallites of various sizes relatively close to the branch tips, which gives the branches a more untidy or lumpy appearance. (Contributed by Andy Lewis)


  • Size data has not been obtained.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Lagoons and back reef areas.

Abundant in shallow habitats around Lizard Island.


Like most Acroporidae, this species is a hermaphrodite broadcast spawner, releasing gametes shortly after dark in the few days after the full moon in the warmer months between November and February. It does not transfer zooxanthellae to the planula larvae however.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Wallace, C.C. (1999). Staghorn corals of the world CSIRO, Collingwood, Vic, Australia.

Other references

  • Anderson, K.D., N.E. Cantin, S.F. Heron, C. Pisapia and M.S. Pratchett (2017). Variation in growth rates of branching corals along Australia�s Great Barrier Reef, Scientific Reports, 7: 2920, DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-03085-1. LIRS catalog number 2132.
  • Babcock, R.C., G.D. Bull, P.L. Harrison, A.J. Heyward, J.K. Oliver, C.C. Wallace and B.L. Willis (1986). Synchronous spawnings of 105 scleractinian coral species on the Great Barrier Reef, Marine Biology, 90: 379-394. LIRS catalog number 300.
  • View all references