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Acropora

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Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)

Synonyms

Arborescent corals; Axial branching corals; Midori ishi (Japan); Staghorn corals; Table corals

Definition

Acropora (Oken, 1815) is the type genus of the hard coral family Acroporidae (class Anthozoa, order Scleractinia of the phylum Cnidaria). Currently, around 120–140 living species are recognized in this genus, but new species are still being discovered in both living and fossil coral assemblages. The Latin name derives from the growth mode, where branches are formed by a central or axial polyp, which buds off numbers of a second kind, the radial polyps, from around its tip as it extends. New branches are formed by the development of new axial polyps along the branch. This mode of growth, which is similar to the axial mode in flowing plants, allows many variations on a branching theme (Figure 1). It is thought to have been a key character in the evolution of a diverse array of species in Acropora, although other processes are also proposed, such as hybridization and...

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Acropora. Figure 1
Acropora. Figure 2
Acropora. Figure 3
Acropora. Figure 4

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Acknowledgments

Dr. P.R. Muir of Museum of Tropical Queensland for preparing figures and reviewing text.

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Wallace, C.C. (2011). Acropora. In: Hopley, D. (eds) Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2639-2_271

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