This gallery shows you the different types of coral and helps you identify the main features. Look through the gallery and then test yourself with an underwater virtual reality dive.
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Brain corals are easy to identify as they look like large brains sitting on the reef.
XL Catlin Seaview Survey
In this close-up, it's possible to see how the surface of the brain coral is made up of grooves and ridges.
This type of coral colony grows into branching shapes. This can resemble a tree. Branching plate coral can also form large flat areas or tables of small individual branches or branchlets.
Branching coral can also be more pronounced like this staghorn coral, so named because it resembles the antlers or horns of a male deer or stag.
This type of coral resembles brain coral with its ridges and valleys, but takes on different shapes rather than the spherical or round form of brain coral.
Plate coral looks like, well, plates. It is also possible to see vase-type shapes where the edges of the plates curl upwards and round.
Boulder coral, like this porites, form the largest colonies on the reef. Some of these colonies like Big Momma in American Samoa can be the size of a small house. They get their name because they look like boulders on the reef.