6. Pillar Coral

Pillar Coral Fossil (Dendrogyra, cylindricus)
Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra, cylindricus) Fossil Skeleton

Pillar Coral is one of the most spectacular stony corals found in the Western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It derives its name for obvious reasons from its sizeable finger-like branches. They can reach a height of nearly 3 meters (9 feet).

Coral colonies were once more common along the Florida reefs, but commercial collections and coral bleaching has greatly reduced the occurrence of Pillar Corals.

Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra, cylindricus)  Source: en.wikipedia.org
Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra, cylindricus) Living Sample

Pillar Corals extend their polyp tentacles during the daytime, unlike most other stony corals.  The  tentacles gently sway with the currents and if one of the polyps is touched by something foreign, it swiftly contracts causing a wave of shriveling polyps pass over the entire colony in a period of a few seconds.     

Check out this exceptional photo of Pillar Coral


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Cnidardia (Large marine group characterized with stinging cells, tentacles and no skeletons or organs)

Class: Anthozoa (Flower Animal)

Order: Scleratinia (Stony Coral)

Suborder: Faviidae (General Spherical Shape)

Family: Meandrinidae (Meandering valleys between corallites)

Genus: Dendrogyra

Species: Cylindricus

What’s being done to bring back threats to coral reefs? Coral farming; see video to find out about this effort to restore the reef along Florida Keys.

I hope you enjoyed this display of Pillar Corals and learned some new things along the way. I feel privileged to have inherited this sample as part of a collection from my beautiful mother-in-law, Winkie.

1983 Ft. Lauderdale Florida Winky and Joe
1983 Ft. Lauderdale Florida
Winkie and Father-in-Law, Joe