Wednesday, September 20, 2017


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Anacropora (Acroporidae)

Welcome to the Anacropora genus landing page. In this section, you will find general information about this genus and tips on how to identify it. If you are looking to confirm an observation made with the Coral Finder about a branching Anacropora, use the image browser below to identify a genus similar to what you saw underwater. Then choose one of the following links for further comparison with similar genera: Acropora, or Montipora.

Vital Statistics

  • 7 species
  • Coral Finder p. 1c, 3
  • COTW – Vol 1 p.168-175


Found in Indo-Pacific.

ID Tips

Anacropora forms delicate branching thickets similar to some species of Acropora, but unlike Acropora which tends to be found in areas of good visibility, Anacropora is often confined to muddy turbid waters.

Anacropora has small radial corallites that are ‘empty’ looking, similar to Montipora and the delicate tentacles are often extended during the day.  The porous skeleton is typical of the family Acroporidae.

Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Anacropora in one key group with Acropora and Montipora being potential candidates for confusion.

Similar genera to branching forms of Anacropora (Coral Finder p3)

Anacropora may be confused with Acropora which forms similar branching colonies.  Anacropora however, lacks the distinctive axial corallite found on Acropora branches.

Branching forms of Montipora can be confused with Anacropora but are easily separated by the blunt branch tips and immersed corallites typical of Montipora.

Branching Anacropora

Similar species: Acropora

Similar genus: Montipora


Taxonomic Changes

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Acroporidae family page


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Bernard, H. (1897). The genus Montipora.  The genus Anacropora.: British Museum.
  • Fukami, H., Omori, M., & Hatta, M. (2000). Phylogenetic relationships in the coral family Acroporidae, reassessed by inference from mitochondrial genes. Zoological Science, 17(5), 689-696.
  • Pillai, C. S. G. (1973). A review of the genus Anacropora Ridley (Scleractinia, Acroporidae) with description of a new species. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India, 15, 296-301.
  • Tseng, C. C., Wallace, C. C., & Chen, C. A. (2005). Mitogenomic analysis of Montipora cactus and Anacropora matthai cnidaria; scleractinia; acroporidae) indicates an unequal rate of mitochondrial evolution among Acroporidae corals. Coral Reefs, 24(3), 502-508.
  • Veron, J. E. N. (1985). Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
  • Veron, J. E. N. (2000). Corals of the World. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Marine Science.
  • Veron, J. E. N. (2002). New species described in ‘Corals of the World’: Australian Institute of Marine Science.
  • Veron, J. E. N., & Wallace, C. C. (1984). Scleractinia of Eastern Australia.  Part 5, Family Acroporidae.

Suggested Reading – Identification Tools