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Branching fire coral
Millepora alcicornis
Linnaeus, 1758

Colonies form multiple branched structures. Branches generally cylindrical. Most commonly branched in a single plane, but occasionally in all directions. Often encrust and overgrow gorgonian colonies, taking on their shape. Colony up to 50 cm. The surface is smooth, covered with minute pores within which the polyps live. When the tiny polyps protrude, they appear as short, fine hairs.

Brown to light creamy yellow, with white branch tips.

Inhabit all marine environments and is the only fire coral that commonly grows deeper than 10 m. Distributed from 1 to 40 m depth.

Abundant to common Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.

Contact with a live colony may cause severe burning sensations due to toxins injected by the nematocysts.

Branching fire coral (Millepora alcicornis)