Corail corne de cerf  - Aquarium La Rochelle

Elkhorn Coral

Acropora sp.
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Conservation status :

Vulnerable species

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  • Group
    Cnidaria
    Hexacorallia
  • Size
    40 centimetres
  • Distribution area

    Acropora grow in the coral reefs of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Behind
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Like all madrepore coral, acropora are colonies of animals called polyps. Each colony comprises a hard skeleton built by the animals and covered with living tissue.

Like many other corals, acropora feed on plankton. However, it gets most of its nutrients from microscopic algae called zooxanthellae, which live in the coral's own tissues. A close symbiosis exists between the two. Under the effect of the sun's rays and thanks to the carbon dioxide released by the coral, the algae grow on the surface of the polyps, bringing them nutrients that are vital to the construction of the skeleton.

 

There are probably close to 150 species of coral in the Acropora genus. These colonies have many branches, which allows them to grow rapidly (several cm a year for certain species), unlike other more massive forms.

 

As a result, the acropora contribute greatly to the building of coral reefs. Depending on the species, bushy acropora colonies can grow anywhere from a few dozen centimetres to more than 1 metre in height while species that grow in tables can reach up to 5 metres in diameter.

Acropora 'bushes' are often refuges for many species of animals: fish, crustaceans, worms and molluscs.

« To reduce the collection of acropora from its natural environment, the coral can be reproduced in an aquarium by means of cuttings. Fragments of colonies grown in tanks will quickly regain their former rate of growth. »

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