When we dive at Glover’s Reef, the primary species of coral we see are:
Staghorn Coral: They possess, like all corals, stinging nematocysts, but these can pack a bit of a sting if you touch them. Observed closely, their individual corallites can be seen; each bump on the branch is an individual coral animal.
Pillar Coral: This coral is occasional-to-rare in our area. It is also one of the few that actively feeds during daylight hours. You can actually see it tentacles groping for food, which gives it a fuzzy appearance. Individual small colonies can be found in numerous patch reefs near Long Caye by the observant diver. One large colony was once spotted off Northeast Caye between the reef and the wall drop off, in about 30 feet of water.
Golfball Coral: These can be spotted throughout the reefs near Long Caye; they are small, half spheres attached here and there on top of other dead corals. This is a Star Coral, and each corallite is easily distinguished from another.
Brain Coral: There are many kinds of Brain Coral, and it is rewarding to begin to distinguish between different species. The most common one seen is Symmetrical Brain Coral. Another type often seen but just as often not recognized as a separate species is Grooved Brain Coral. A third, common species, that is very similar but still distinctive enough for the layman to distinguish is Boulder Brain Coral.
Fire Coral: You should not touch any coral (it’s not good for them), but this one, you definitely do not want to touch it, because it’s not good for you. Fire coral earned its name for a reason. The sting has been compared to feeling as if an ice pick has just been jabbed into your hand.
Elkhorn Coral: Prefer shallow areas where wave action causes constant water movement. Branches orient parallel to surge direction. A rapidly growing coral, under optimum conditions can grow 5-6 inches a year.