Millepora (Order Milleporina)
Welcome to the Millepora 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, use the image browser below to verify what you saw underwater. Then click on the following link for further comparison with a similar genus: Heliopora.
The genus Millepora is a member of the coelenterate class Hydrozoa, unlike most of the other coral genera described in the Coral Finder and Coral Hub, which are Anthozoa. Two key features of the Hydrozoans are (1) Generations alternate between a sexually reproductive medusoid form and an asexually reproductive polyp form, (2) Polyps are specialised, partitioning work, so that one polyp may deal with prey capture, whereas another polyp may focus on consuming the prey. For more information, check out the Hydrozoa page on Coral Hub.
- 50 species
- Coral Finder p. 2c, 3c, 10c, 13c, 29
- COTW – Vol 3 p400-401
Widespread in the Indo-Pacific and the Atlantic.
Millepora colonies come in a range of shapes and sizes, from branching through to encrusting, often overgrowing other organisms and taking on their shape.
Despite the wide array of growth forms, the colony surface is distinctive; the polyps lie immersed in the colony and are marked by tiny surface pores. Millepora is mustard yellow in colour and covered with a layer of delicate white hairs. These hairs contain nematocysts, which deliver the fire-like sting distinctive of this coral.
The Coral Finder lists Millepora in one key group with other non-scleractinians. Heliopora may be a possible source of confusion, but the two genera can be differentiated by the blue colour of the skeleton that is distinctive of Heliopora. Millepora does not have a blue skeleton, and the colony surface is hairier than that of Heliopora.
Similar genus: Heliopora
Suggested Reading – Identification Tools
- Veron, J. E. N. (2000). Corals of the World. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Marine Science.