It’s easy to get lost in the long meandering ridges of Meandrina meandrites. This coral can be found through the Caribbean and is commonly known as Maze Coral.
Meandrina stands out from other brain corals with thick valleys that have a slight peak when they meet at the top of each ridge. It is rare for the valleys to join. Instead, this coral has prominent teeth which alternate, similar to a zipper.
There are two species of Meandrina coral, M. meandrites and M. braziliensis. While the second species M. braziliensis has a similar alternating pattern this coral has only been documented off the coast of Brazil. If you spot a Meandrina coral while diving in the Caribbean you can safely identify as M. meandrites.
Meandrina meandrites is an encrusting species which can grow into thick plates and ornate colonies. M. braziliensis is a free-living species which does not encrust. The valleys of Meandrina coral all radiate outwards from the original point of growth and divide at regular intervals. Meandrina corals are found in yellow, brown and gray.
Once you have the search image for Meandrina in your mind this coral will stand out from the crowd. Each colony have their own unique shape and we even found this large pillar-shaped colony while diving in the Dominican Republic.
If you are trying to identify larger brain corals underwater remeber alternating teeth and ridged that don’t connect is a textbook example of Meandrina.
The Coral Diaries series is a list of corals we have seen while diving around the world. We’ve created this series so that you can learn more about corals, and how to identify them on the reef. We encourage you to send us your coral pictures and leave a comment in the section below to learn more about the interesting species you’ve found while diving.