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Corals of the Maui Reefs

The types of corals that you're likely to see while snorkeling in Maui's reefs.
February 05, 2016

Corals of the Maui Reefs

Maui Snorkeling Excursions

While you're out adventuring with us on our Maui snorkeling excursions, you'll have the opportunity to see Hawaiian green sea turtles, a rainbow of fish species, and maybe even dolphins, among many other fascinating creatures. It's interesting to consider that this vibrant ecosystem full of marine animals wouldn't exist without the coral reef, which plays a special role in the environment.

Visually, coral reefs might look like the underwater version of a forest, but the many little polyps that make up a coral colony are animals, not plants. While soft corals eat tiny drifting animals called zooplankton, most hard corals also get some of their food from plant cells under their skin, which are known as zooxanthellae. Corals typically catch their food at night, when many of their predators are asleep.

Here in the reefs around Maui, there are a few types of coral that you're likely to see at any location. One of those is loosely known as cauliflower coral. There are three kinds, including cauliflower coral, Hawaiian cauliflower coral and warty cauliflower coral. Featuring creamy, neutral colors, they tend to have an overall round shape, made up of stout, spiky branches. Within the same family are the lace corals, which are similar but with finer branches, and the antler coral with their long, dramatic branches that grow upwards in a fan shape.

Table and staghorn corals are also relatively common. The table corals are easy to recognize by their wide, flat shape, covered by tiny spiky branches. Many kinds of marine animals take advantage of the shelter they provide, hiding in the shady recesses beneath them.

There are a wide variety of other coral species that can be found in Hawaii, but these are generally the most common, depending on the reef. The best way to find out more about these and other fascinating organisms is to ask our knowledgeable crew when you're on a Maui snorkel tour with us. We look forward to seeing you out there!

Blogs for February 2016

Four New Algae Species Discovered in Hawaii

Posted on February 26, 2016
Four New Algae Species Discovered in Hawaii

New species of deep-water algae, Umbraulva kuaweuweu, photographed by diver at 277 feet off Lisianski Island in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Credit: Brian Hauk/NOAA

Earlier this month, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the discovery of four new algae… Continue Reading

Special Discount Deal on Maui Whale Watching Tour

Posted on February 19, 2016
Special 2-for-1 Discount on Whale Watching Tour

Looking for a great deal on a whale watch tour in Lahaina? February is a peak month for whale watching in Hawaii, while their numbers are thickest here along our coastlines. Whale season ends in May, but hopefully you won't have to… Continue Reading

Courtesy Transportation for Our Maui Ocean Activity Guests

Posted on February 12, 2016
Courtesy Transportation for Our Maui Ocean Activity Guests

If you've booked with us before, then you may know that we currently offer courtesy transportation services between Lahaina Harbor and select West Maui and South Maui locations. If you're not familiar with our tours, we recommend that you check our… Continue Reading

Corals of the Maui Reefs

Posted on February 05, 2016
Corals of the Maui Reefs

While you're out adventuring with us on our Maui snorkeling excursions, you'll have the opportunity to see Hawaiian green sea turtles, a rainbow of fish species, and maybe even dolphins, among many other fascinating creatures. It's interesting to consider that this vibrant ecosystem full… Continue Reading

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