Hard corals come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.

Coral shapes
Coral shapes

Hard corals

(clockwise from top right): Branching, Boulder, Leafy, Finger, Mushroom, Encrusting, Table.

Illustration showing coral shapes  from “Corals of the World” by Jen Veron
ISBN 0-642-32236-8 Painting by Geoff Kelly

Corals of the World, Vol. 1, 2, 3 (in Slip Cover)


As a basic rule of thumb if coral is coloured it is alive.

Dead coral is white or grey.

Some corals excrete a soft, leathery skin rather than a rocky skeleton.

These are called soft or leather corals.

Leather corals

Polyps extended

Leather corals polyps extended, Fiji
Leather corals polyps extended, Fiji

Polyps retracted

Leather corals polyps retracted, Fiji
Leather corals polyps retracted, Fiji

Photos of leather corals from:
Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Field GuideAllen & Steene, ISBN 981-00-5687-7


Subsidiary information:

GCRMN reports show that Fiji is currently in the best coral health it has seen in at least 10 years.

See the full GCRMN 2006 Report here.

Fiji has great Biodiversity with 1,200 species of reef fish and more than 200 coral species.


For more Butterflyfish information:

A Guide to Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes
Author: Gerald R Allen, Roger Steene, Mark Allen.
ISBN 0-9661720-1-9

Reef Fish Identification – Tropical Pacific
Author: Gerald Allen, Roger Steene, Paul Human
ISBN: 978-1878348364

Reef Fishes of the World
Authors: Lieske and Myers,
ISBN: 978-0691089959

Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific

Author: Terrence M. Gosliner, David W. Behrens
ISBN: 978-0930118211

Marine Life of Fiji and Tonga: A Video Identification Guide

Josh Jensen and Liz Harlin


More Butterflyfish Info

Butterflyfish BiologyButterflyfish Lifestyle
Butterflyfish FeedingCoral Biology
Butterflyfish PairingCoral Biology