species: Pocillopora damicornis in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Pocillopora damicornis

©Andy Lewis: A pink specimen of Pocillopora damicornis at Watsons Bay, Lizard Island

©Andy Lewis: A macro image of Pocillopora damicornis showing the typical structure of corallites and veruccae

©Andy Lewis: Pink and brown colonies of Pocillopora damicornis at Big Viki's Reef, Lizard Island
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Cnidaria
Class Hexacorallia
Order Scleractinia
Family Pocilloporidae
Genus Pocillopora
Species Pocillopora damicornis
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

A coral that forms compact bushes with short, irregular bracnches. Verrucae are present on the surface of the colony, giving it a "warty" appearance. Corallites are small and embedded. Colour is typically light brown or pink.


  • Size data has not been obtained.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Protected lagoons and back reef margins.

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: Can be found in most habitats around Lizard Island.


Pocillopora damicornis is a common and geographically widepsread species that frequently colonises disturbed areas of reef, sometimes forming large stands of small colonies.

Like other Pocilloporids, it has a flexible reproductive mode, with broadcast spawning, brooding of planula larvae, and asexual production of planuae all demonstrated in various parts of its range.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Schmidt-Roach, S., K.J. Miller, P. Lundgren and N. Andreakis (2014). With eyes wide open: a revision of species within and closely related to the Pocillopora damicornis species complex (Scleractinia; Pocilloporidae) using morphology and genetics, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 170: 1-33. LIRS catalog number 1753.

Other references

  • Anderson, K.D., N.E. Cantin, S.F. Heron, C. Pisapia and M.S. Pratchett (2017). Variation in growth rates of branching corals along Australia�s Great Barrier Reef, Scientific Reports, 7: 2920, DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-03085-1. LIRS catalog number 2132.
  • Ayre, D.J., T.P. Hughes and R.J. Standish (1997). Genetic differentiation, reproductive mode, and gene flow in the brooding coral Pocillopora damicornis along the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 159: 175-187. LIRS catalog number 553.
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