Table coral – (BENTHIC-coral) See facts

Name of animal-plant: Table coral

Species name: Acropora cytheria

Animal type: BENTHIC

Subcategory: coral

Acropora cytherea is a colonial species of coral that grows in large horizontal plates. These are formed of many tiny branchlets growing vertically or at an angle and others growing horizontally to extend the colony. They may branch and link together and near the centre the plates may become a solid mass of joined branchlets. The surface of the coral is covered by a thin layer of living tissue. This has a rough surface and contains zooxanthella, symbiotic, unicellular, photosynthetic algae. These give the coral its cream or pale brown colour (occasionally pale blue).


The calcium carbonate skeleton is secreted by many small polyps which are joined together through an interconnecting network of channels inside the skeleton. At night, and sometimes during the day, the polyps protrude from the skeleton and extend their tentacles to feed. At other times, they contract back into the safety of the skeleton. In older specimens, particularly those exceeding 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) in diameter, the regular structure sometimes breaks down near the centre and there are growth anomalies. It has been found that these are not deleterious to the survival of the coral and may be caused by stress factors such as raised sea temperatures.


All animals and plants are given a species name based on a technical term in biological taxnomy. The species name consists of two words and is based on Latin.


The first part of the name identifies the genus to which the species belongs and  the second part identifies the species within the genus. In this animals case it is: Acropora cytheria

Table coral photo

Photo by bodiver

Table coral photo

Photo by bodiver

Table coral photo

Photo by gillybooze