Finger Coral (Montipora digitata): All You Need to Know

Finger Coral

Finger Coral is a type of stony coral found in shallow waters in many places. This includes East Africa, the Indo-West Pacific, Kenya, Mozambique, and Rodriguez.

The scientific name of Finger Coral is Montipora digitata.

What Does the Finger Coral Look Like?

The Finger Coral forms large groups. These groups can be digitate (finger-like) or bushy. They stand up straight and often join together. They form round mounds that can be 16 inches or more wide.

The corallites (small, cup-like parts where the coral animal lives) are small and deep. They make the Finger Coral look like it has little pits or holes.

Finger Coral can be pale cream, pale yellow, or brown in color.

What Are the Characteristics of The Finger Coral?

The Finger Coral has some special features. Its colonies are digitate or look like trees with upright branches. The corallites are sunk in and small. This is especially true for colonies from shallow water.

The coenosteum (the part of the coral between the corallites) is smooth. The color of Finger Coral can be pale cream or brown. Sometimes it can even be pink or blue.

How Does the Finger Coral Live and Grow?

The Finger Coral is a zooxanthellate species of coral. This means it gets most of its food from tiny plants that live inside its soft tissues.

These tiny plants use sunlight to make food. They can give the Finger Coral up to 90% of the energy it needs to live and grow.

The Finger Coral gets the rest of its food from tiny animals in the water that it catches with its tentacles.

How Does the Finger Coral Reproduce?

The Finger Coral is a simultaneous hermaphrodite. This means each coral has both male and female parts.

Once a year, all the Finger Corals in one place release eggs and sperm into the water at the same time. These rise to the surface of the water.

There they break up and mix with eggs and sperm from other corals. This is how new corals are made.

Is the Finger Coral at Risk?

The Finger Coral is a common species. It’s not easily hurt by coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is when corals lose their color and may die.

But Finger Corals do face other threats. These include climate change, damage to their homes from bad weather, and changes in seawater. But the Finger Coral is not in great danger right now.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says this coral is of ‘least concern’. This means it’s not in immediate danger of disappearing.

Where Does the Finger Coral Live?

The Finger Coral lives in shallow reef environments.

It may even be the main species living in shallow mud flats. These are areas of mud in shallow water.

What Are Similar Species to The Finger Coral?

The Finger Coral is similar to Montipora samarensis. Another similar species is M. altasepta.

These corals also have digitate or tree-like colonies. They have the same small, sunken corallites. They also live in similar environments.

Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Montipora digitata
Also Known As:Finger Coral
Conservation Status:Least Concern

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