Branching finger-like corals are a dominant species in the Caribbean, Florida and Bahama ocean reefs and form some of the largest colonies extending as far as eight meters in height. They are very slow growing and therefore some may be a thousand years old.
Because the fossil/skeleton sample in my possession has broken off branches (very typical) I was unable to identify the exact species, but am certain it belongs to the genus called Porites. Three Western Atlantic Porites species have features that overlap so can be difficult to identify.
- Club Tip Finger Coral (Porites, porites) possess thick, stubby branches growing upright or spread wide apart. Often gray, occasionally bright blue
- Branching Finger Coral (Porites, furcata) possess elongated, tightly compact branches with rounded tips. Usually grey
- Thin Finger Coral (Porites, divaricata) possess most slender branches, widely spaced apart, often divided at their tips. Colors vary from purple, yellowish brown, grey and brown.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Cnardia (stinging cells)
- Class: Anthozoa (flower animl)
- Order: Scleractinia (stony coral)
- Family: Poritidae (massive reef builders)
- Genus: Porites (finger-like)