Sea Life

20 Types Of Coral From Around The World

Types Of Coral From Around The World

In the world of the ocean, Corals are the most diverse group of marine invertebrates, belonging to the Phylum  Cnidaria. They are very popular species of shallow and tropical waters and are found along the rocky bottoms of the oceans. The body of corals is made up of calcium carbonate which provides them strength to bear the changing environmental conditions of the oceans. There are diverse species of corals, out of which few are explained here in this article. Scroll down.

20 Types Of Coral From Around The World

In the oceanic world, the c6,000oral comes in distinct types; approximately 6,000 coral species exist under the water, which is why we can’t explain all of them here. However, to assist you in learning further about these remarkable creatures, we have compiled a list of 20 types of coral species found worldwide.

1: Open Brain Coral

Open Brain Coral is one of the most popular species of coral in the artificial tank environment. It is named so, as it looks odd like a brain but displays several vivid colors. These species are found in the Indo-Pacific Oceans, along the muddy and sandy floors, approximately at the depth of 130 feet. However, in their natural habitat, these species face the major threat of overharvesting, enlisting them as Near-threatened species.

2: Palancar Reef

Palancar Reef is the Mesoamerican reef system and is known to be the second largest reef on Earth. This reef provides a home to several aquatic species such as butterflyfishes, sea horses, sea fans, parrot fish, squirrel fish, and other fish species which are attracted to these coral reefs because of their remarkable coloration.

3: Lettuce Leaf Coral

The Lettuce Leaf Reef grows in a cylindrical pattern, forming colonies, and looks like a large lettuce leaf – thanks to its enormous fan end. They are shallow-water coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific regions, living at the depth of 20 meters. These corals prefer to feed on phytoplankton and appear in different colors like yellow, green, and brown. Like other coral species, it also provides shelter to diverse groups of marine creatures to hide from predatory animals.

4: Carnation Coral

These corals are found in the open waters of the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and Western Pacific regions. These species of coral grow beneath stony canopies or on walls and bloom when the tides are flowing to feed or droop when the tides are steady. The body is made up of a flower-like head that has red, pink, yellow, and orange coloration, and a branch-like stalk that is pearly white, making it one of the most attractive species of coral reef.

5: Leaf Coral 

The leaf coral is a kind of colonial rocky reef which are native to the shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific regions. This coral is named so as it looks like a leaf of around 3 to 10 mm thickness. These corals usually grow on slopes and reach a depth of 50 feet. However, IUCN classified them as fragile because it is predicted that they might get affected by extensive bleaching.

6: Bubble Coral

Another fascinating type of coral is bubble coral. During the daytime, these whitish reefs resemble a bunch of bubbles and at night hours it looks like tiny distorted balloon, which allows the tentacles to extend and hunt for prey. These corals are found in the warm waters of the Mid-Pacific regions, the Indian Ocean, and the Red Sea.

7: Belize Barrier Reef

The Belize Barrier Reef is known to be the largest barrier reef in the Northern hemisphere, containing 500 species of fish and approximately 106 hard and soft reef species. However, due to human activities, around 40% of these corals have been destroyed.

8: Apo Reef

This reef system is the second longest reef, which stretches 13 miles across the Mindoro Strait in the South China Sea. These corals are of pink and blue coloration, attracting the sea turtles and fish that lives under the surface of the ocean.

9: Rose-Shaped Coral Reefs

These reefs are found along the coastal regions of Tahiti – the biggest Island in the Southern Pacific Ocean. These reefs are extended to about 3 km and live at the depth of 100 to 180 feet below the surface of the water – the extreme depth of the corals protects them from temperature and climate changes.

10: Tubbataha Reef

At the coast of the Sulu Sea, Tubbataha Reef is located, extending to a distance of 50 km from Puerto Princesa – Philippines. This coral ecosystem provides a hometown to more than 1200 species of fish, 360 corals, and numerous birds as well. Moreover, the vivid coloration of the reef makes it highly attractive, especially to divers and snorkelers.

11: Great Florida Reef

Along the Floridan coast, the third largest coal reefs are found in the open waters of North America, covering an area of 270 km in length and 6 to 7 km in width. It is known to be a 5 to 7 thousand years old system, which provides a home to 600 distinct reefs, 500 fishes, and 1,400 different marine species.

12: Staghorn Coral

These coral species are found in the shallow waters of the Caribbean region, Florida, and the Bahamas. Staghorn corals look like the horn of adult deer – a single colony of the reef can reach a maximum height of 4 feet or 1.2 meters. It grows along the substantial hedgerows, providing excellent fish habitats.

13: Elkhorn Coral

It is one of the widely distributed coral species in the Caribbean Sea which can reach a length of 12 feet and is about 6 feet in height. Elkhorn reefs develop into massive clusters known as thickets, which are typically seen in the intertidal zone. Because of the enormous size, the reef provides an aquatic habitat for many species like Caribbean Reef Octopus.

14: Gorgonian Sea Fan Coral

The Gorgonian Sea Fan is one of the most beautiful coral reefs which is mostly found in the West Indies and the Bahamas. It is a soft coral that is composed of a complex matrix of bracts that emerge from a tiny base. The unique coloration of these reefs attracts the attention of divers as well as snorkelers. These coral species are found at the depth of 10 meters and are the hometown of a pygmy seahorse, spending their adulthood attaching themselves to the branches of corals.

15: Sun Coral

Sun corals are commonly found in the waters of the Western Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Southern Pacific, and Indo-Pacific regions. These lively creatures come in a variety of vibrant colors, such as yellow, red, pink, and orange. They often inhabit caves or dark overhangs which provide them with a strong water current and abundant nutrients to feed on them with the help of their extended tentacles.

16: Vase Coral

The vase coral is a widespread species in the aquarium kept in homes. In the natural environment, it is present throughout the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the Red Sea where the water is warm and suitable for their survival. In aquariums, these corals have a symbiotic association with dinoflagellates and feed on them when necessary.

17: Organ Pipe Coral

These coral species are widely distributed in the Western and Central regions of the Pacific Island. These creatures’ bodies are composed of a rigid skeleton made up of calcium carbonate, which provides them strength to bear the changing environmental conditions. Moreover, when these corals die, the calcium carbonate skeleton is left behind and particularly turns red to attract the attention of divers and snorkelers.

18: Rainbow Reef

Rainbow Reef is situated in the Somosomo Strait which comprises 230 species of hard and soft corals and provides a home to about 1250 species of fish. These corals provide sufficient nutrients to marine life and have approximately 25 diving sites.

19: Fox Coral

The fox coral is one of the beautiful coral reef species, commonly referred to as the jasmine coral. These curled polyps come in a variety of colors varying from greenish blue to pale pink. These species reside on stony ridges for providing protection and are native to Indo-West Pacific regions, from the Philippines to Papua New Guinea.

20: Mushroom Coral

These species of corals are found in almost all the oceans of the world, often on top reef sandbars with swift water currents. Due to its thick oval form and radiating skeletal walls, it looks like a mushroom. Although most of these creatures inhabit tropical seas, some varieties may also exist in cold-water habitats. They are solitary type creatures that prefer to live freely on the ocean floor and attach to the corals in the adult stage.

Bottom Line

There are around 6,000 different forms of coral, out of which 20 of the most popular types have been explained in this article. The corals are considered the most fascinating and remarkable creatures of the oceanic world because of their unique features and most importantly, they are beneficial not only for underwater species but for humans as well. 

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.