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Great star coral
Montastrea cavernosa
(Linnaeus, 1766)

Colonies usually form massive boulders and domes, but occasionally develop into plates or sheets, especially in deep water. Colonies up to 2.5 m in diameter. The surface is covered with distinctive, blister-like, corallites.

Shades of green, brown, yellow-brown and gray.

Corallites 5.5-7.5 mm in diameter, with 36-48 septa. The distance between neighboring corallites is between 5 and 9 mm. Columella trabecular.

Inhabit most reef environments, down to 90 m, and are often the predominant coral between 12 and 30 m. Polyps are generally retracted during the day, but extend prominently at night (M. cavernosa-extended polyps).

Common to abundant Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.

Great star coral (Montastrea cavernosa)