Fire coral: Another view

by B. N. Sullivan

Fire coral (Millepora dichotoma), Red SeaAfter the previous post about fire coral was published, Jerry asked, "Why didn't you include a picture that shows what the whole thing looks like, instead of just some macros? You know, so that divers and snorkelers will know what fire coral looks like before they get too close."

I had to admit, I was remiss in not including such a shot. The photo at right is Jerry's choice to show fire coral as divers and snorkelers are likely to see it. (Click on the photo to enlarge.)

The fire coral species shown here is Millepora dichotoma. Like several other fire corals of the same genus, it tends to have whitish tips while the main structure of the colony has some color. Those of you who have been following this blog for some time could probably guess that this photo was taken in the Red Sea as soon as you saw those bright orange fishies. I've mentioned several times that these little fish, called Scalefin Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), are ubiquitous in the Red Sea.

We'd also like to note that the background color of this photo is pretty close to The Right Blue!


  1. Nasty stuff! I often find myself on the business end of Fire Coral while either looking for lobster or shooting macro. Here in Florida it is everywhere and almost looks like it is overwhelming parts of the reef. The obvious way to avoid contact is to stay well above the reef. Of course if you are taking photographs you should wear an exposure suit or a lyrca rash guard.

  2. Hi Christopher -

    Thanks for visiting. And thank you for mentioning how very important it is for divers, and especially photographers, to wear a full divesuit as protection. We don't intend to touch the reef, and certainly not fire coral, but once in awhile it just happens by accident. Coral scrapes, fire coral and hydroid burns, and the occasional sting are occupational hazards for underwater photographers.

    To everyone else: Go and have a look at Christopher's website. He lives in Florida, where he paints and photographs marine life.


  3. Beautiful, and it sounds like there is a lot of it around - almost like the invasive plants we have around here.

  4. Hi Kathy - Yes, in some areas there is a lot of fire coral, yet in other areas it's relatively rare.


  5. my son touched fire coral on his arm about 3 weeks ago was fine just got tiny welt now 3 weeks later it is bothering him..
    What can I do?


We welcome your comments and invite your questions. Dialogue is a good thing!

Bobbie & Jerry