Oken, 1815 p. 66

ICZN approved validation of genus name, Opinion 674, 1963 See Boschma, H. 1961. Acropora Oken, 1815 (Anthozoa, Madreporaria): proposed validation under the plenary powers. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 18: 334–335. China, W. E. 1963 Opinion 674 Acropora Oken, 1815 (Anthozoa, Madreporaria) validated under the plenary powers. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 20: 319-330.

Type Species

Millepora muricata Linneaus, 1758 p. 792; ICZN Decision Verrill, 1902

Type Specimen: Neotype; MTQ G49167; Verified; Dry Preserved

Type Locality: Banda Sea, Gunung Api I., Banda Is, Indonesia 04° 31’S 129° 52’E

ICZN approved validation of type species, Opinion 674, 1963 (Boschma, 1961; China, 1963). Linnaeus gave the type locality as “in Pelagio Asiatico” (Asian Ocean). Although Linnaeus’ description clearly had many influences, Gregory (1900) considered that the strongest came from the illustrated work of Rumphius (1750) from the region of Ambon, Indonesia. The designated neotype was collected close to Ambon and selected to show close resemblance to a Rumphius illustration cited by Linneaus. The junior synonym Acropora formosa (Dana, 1846) was in common use until the identity of the type species was stabilized by this designation. See Wallace (1999 pp 2-6) for nomenclatural and taxonomic history.



Acroporidae which are ramose, rarely encrusting; branching mode axial, each branch having a single axial or leading corallite larger than the numerous radial corallites budded from it; radial corallites variously differentiated in shape and size, up to twelve spinose septa; theca and coenosteum light, reticulate, spinose, costate or pseudocostate; columella and dissepiments absent.


A variety of colony shapes occur, as growth may be determinate, leading to more or less symmetrical shape and obvious edge zone, or indeterminate, leading to unrestricted growth (Wallace 1999 p. 50-51). Other distinguishing characteristics include the relative contribution of axial and radial corallites to branch width, shape of radial corallites, whether or not radial corallites are dimorphic, shape and arrangement of coenosteal spines. (Figure 4). Montipora does not haveand Astreopora


Axial corallites are also seen in some species of Isopora, but with supplementary or multiple axials, and in one species of Astreopora. Acropora and Isopora differ in gametic morphology, ova and spermaries being born within mesenterial filaments in Acropora and on stalks in Isopora, and also in reproductive mode, Acropora being a spawner versus Isopora a brooder oviparous versus viviparous). Montipora corallites do not have a theca and Astreopora does not typically have differentiated axial and radial corallites. Anacropora and Dendracis both have branching colony form, but without an axial corallite or, in the case of Anacropora, thecae.


Monographed Brook 1893, Veron and Wallace 1984, Wallace 1999. Valid extant species number between about 120 and 140 (Wallace 1999; Veron 2000); valid fossil species approx. 20-30 (Michellotti 1838, Duncan 1866, Oppenheim 1901, Alvarez Perez 1987, Wallace 2008). Active research will lead to new species descriptions in both living and fossil records. This genus becomes extremely diverse in the Indo-Pacific but not in the Western Atlantic during the Late Cenozoic. See Wallace (1999) for a comprehensive treatment of the genus and included species


  • Southern Europe; Paleocene
  • Subsaharan Africa; Paleocene
  • Western Europe; Eocene
  • Southern Europe; Eocene
  • Eastern Europe; Eocene
  • Subsaharan Africa; Eocene
  • Central America; Eocene
  • Western Europe; Oligocene
  • Southern Europe; Oligocene
  • Eastern Europe; Oligocene
  • Central America; Oligocene
  • Caribbean; Oligocene
  • South America; Oligocene
  • Caribbean, Southeast Asia; Miocene - Pliocene
  • Western Europe; Miocene
  • Southern Europe; Miocene
  • North Africa; Miocene
  • South Asia; Miocene
  • East Asia; Miocene
  • Micronesia; Miocene
  • Polynesia; Miocene
  • North America; Miocene
  • Central America; Miocene
  • Caribbean; Miocene
  • South America; Miocene
  • West Asia; Miocene
  • Southeast Asia; Miocene
  • Central America, Caribbean, Southeast Asia; Pliocene - Pleistocene
  • East Asia; Pliocene
  • Melanesia; Pliocene
  • Polynesia; Pliocene
  • North America; Pliocene
  • Central America; Pliocene
  • Caribbean; Pliocene
  • West Asia; Pliocene
  • Southeast Asia; Pliocene
  • East Asia; Pleistocene - Holocene
  • North Africa; Pleistocene
  • Subsaharan Africa; Pleistocene
  • South Asia; Pleistocene
  • East Asia; Pleistocene
  • Australasia; Pleistocene
  • Melanesia; Pleistocene
  • Micronesia; Pleistocene
  • Polynesia; Pleistocene
  • North America; Pleistocene
  • Central America; Pleistocene
  • Caribbean; Pleistocene
  • South America; Pleistocene
  • West Asia; Pleistocene
  • West Indian Ocean Islands; Pleistocene
  • Southeast Asia; Pleistocene
  • Indian Ocean; Recent
  • Western Pacific; Recent
  • Central Pacific; Recent
  • Eastern Pacific; Recent
  • Western Atlantic; Recent
  • South Asia; Holocene
  • East Asia; Holocene
  • Australasia; Holocene
  • Melanesia; Holocene
  • Micronesia; Holocene
  • Polynesia; Holocene
  • North America; Holocene
  • Caribbean; Holocene
  • West Indian Ocean Islands; Holocene
Source: Paleobiology database (accessed June 26th, 2012), Veron, (2000). Historical Distribution: Eocene-Recent., Europe-West Indies-North America-IndoPacific (Wells, 1956). Distribution compiled by Matthew Tibbits.

This page has been in preparation since 02-Jun-2007 12:35

This version was contributed by Ann Budd on 26-Jun-2012 18:46.

Page authors are: Carden Wallace. Please contact the editor if you would like to contribute to the diagnosis of this taxon.

The editor is: Ann Budd


Acropora distribution from Ann Budd on 16-Jul-2007 17:04

This genus occurs in the Paleocene to Holocene of the Caribbean. It is common in Pleistocene terraces of many islands (Bahamas, DR, Barbados etc), and occurs in Holocene of the Enriquillo Valley.

Living colony of type species Acropora muricata. Seychelles