Image Source
Info Source:
NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources

Elkhorn Coral

Elkhorn coral is a large, branching coral that earns its name due to the resemblance to Elk antlers. The branches of Elkhorn coral can grow over six feet long, growing between 2-4 inches per year. This type of coral relies on a diet of organic byproducts from photosynthesis, as well as small fish and zooplankton by using their tentacles.

Elkhorn coral is found in shallow waters throughout the Caribbean and Florida. Florida, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix were named critical environments for Elkhorn coral in 2008. This type of coral is listed as ESA threatened and was proposed in 2012 to be listed as endangered.

Elkhorn coral populations are particularly threatened by disease, predation, hurricanes, bleaching, algae overgrowth and sedimentation. It is estimated that there has been a 90-95% reduction in abundance of Elkhorn coral since 1980.
Several restoration activities have taken place to re-attach coral fragments in an attempt to grow populations.