Photograph by Neville Coleman

Acropora Millepora

Known to be native to the western Indo-Pacific area, Acropora Millepora is recognized as being a small, colonial coral that comes in bright blue, green and pink colors and can take on a variety of shapes and growth configurations depending on the specific type of species involved.
Millepora corals are unique in their appearance, featuring scaly, clustered forms and short, cylindrically shaped branches with projective lower rims that confer them their scaly look and rich configuration.

Description and Habitat

Found in many cases to exceed 5 mm in diameter in a period of less than 10 months, Acropora Millepora is a type of coral that features a relatively slow growth, and the coral reef it produces are made of materials which have their origins mainly in coral rubble, live coral, dead standing coral and coral-like stones.
With its polyps extending from its vertical branches to about 1.5 cm outward, the coral reproduces through a process called “mass spawning” once each year, for a period of about 3 nights during the full moon in the warmer seasons.
The unique requirements of Millepora habitats demand that the waters in which they thrive be abundant in elements such as calcium and strontium, while the preferred areas they thrive in will often include reef flats and upper reef slopes.
Despite its specific requirements, the species is considerably common in a wide range of regions, including the Red Sea, Kenya, South Africa, as well as Indonesia, Japan and Australia.

The Growth Circumstances of the Species

Due to their lower reproduction speed, Millepora species are prone to more rapid degradation and sensitive to sedimentation. This translates into diminished metabolism and growth size, as well as smaller coral populations.
Acropora Millepora requires adequate lighting which is essential to the species’ survival, as well as specific water conditions involving average temperatures of about 75-78 F and pH levels of 8.1-8.4.
Because of requiring increased lighting, the levels of depth in which these types of corals can thrive are significantly reduced in comparison with other Acropora species. Moreover, studies show that the light can also have a significant effect on the orientation of the coral growths, influencing whether the larvae will settle on the upper or lower levels.
A unique property that Millepora has also developed is its increased UV-ray blocking abilities. Secreting an agent that effectively helps them reduce the effects that prolonged exposure to UV light may have on the species, Acropora Millepora have at least one tool capable of maintaining their resilience and ensuring the less pronounced reduction of future populations within the next 40-50 years.

Blane Perun

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