Fire corals get their common name from the painful stings they inflict on divers (2). Approximately 50 species of fire coral have been described, which express an array of growth forms. Growth forms range from colonies composed of tree-like branches, solid colonies that are typically dome-shaped, or colonies that adhere closely to the substrate (2). These reef-building (hermatypic) corals can be green, cream or yellow, and those species with branches have hollow cores, containing oxygen, that can be easily broken (2) (3). Other species form thick and sturdy colonies capable of withstanding the strongest wave action (3).
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