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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Coral Types in the Maldives – One of the Best Guarded National Treasures
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Coral Types in the Maldives – One of the Best Guarded National Treasures

The coral reefs in the Maldives are an important part of the nation's livelihood which supports the support its local and marine life. Here are some of the coral types you'll find in the Maldives.


Massive corals

Massive corals which are brown or cream-yellow in colour have smooth surfaces and are normally ball-shaped with sometimes irregular nodules. Although these corals may appear to be a slow-growing colony they can grow to large sizes after hundreds of years. The Brain coral which is a type of massive coral is a good example; They are easy to find as they can grow up to 6 feet with a lifespan of 900 years on average. While you won't see any movement from these corals during a day dive you'll be able to see the coral extend its tentacles for feeding during a night dive.


Cup coral

The Turbinaria Corals or Cup corals are shaped like a cup and feeds during day and night depending on the species. While they vary in size the largest of its kind grow up to about 10 inches.


Mushroom corals

Fungia corals or Mushroom corals unlike most of the other coral types are free-living corals that live in solitary. Resembling mushrooms these corals are disc-shaped or flat and can look either elongated or circular.

While most of the hard-coral polyps have clear bodies mushroom corals which are very colourful get their colour from the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) that live inside their tissue. Millions of algae produce Pigments which can be seen through the poly's clear body are what gives them its unique colour.


Sea Fans

Gorgonians, also known as Sea Fans spread out and grow upwards very similar to a lady's fan. While the beauty of these corals can be observed only at close proximity extreme care must be taken not get too close and damage them with your fins or any equipment that you use for diving.


Branching corals

As the name suggests these corals have lots of branches which often branch out into more corals and its colour may vary between green and a pinkish-brown. Stylophora or Hood-corals a type of Branching corals can be distinguished by the bush formation which it grows in that is formed by branches shaped like fingers.

Staghorn coral, another type of branching corals which is known to grow at rapid pace and can be found on the seabed at a depth of 30 or on the surface of coral reefs. These corals don't offer much resistance against stormy weather but keep up their numbers because they re-grow very fast. It was in fact of the first coral types to recover from the bleaching effect which was caused by El Nino effect in 1998.

If you want information regarding coral conservation and even how to start your own coral patch in the Maldives, resorts similar to likes of Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort who conduct Coral Adaptation Programmes would be a good place to start.


Flowerpot corals

Flowerpot corals are a type hard coral which is shaped like flowers but unlike most hard coral their polyps are open and extend outwards from its skeleton both day and night. They are normally yellow, green or brown in colour and despite their delicate names are known to be very an aggressive species. Hence its very rare to see other coral species growing in close proximity to flowerpot corals.

Goniopora a type of flowerpot coral consists of daisy-like polyps tipped with 24 stinging tentacles that outward extend from its base is a good example of how aggressive this species can be.