Elkhorn coral and staghorn coral has been placed on the threatened species list. This coral species is located thoughout the Caribbean and Southern United States but is a threatened species in areas close to Florida and the US Virgin islands. Off the shore in Tulum, snorkelers and divers will see both elkhorn and staghorn coral alive and well and in large colonies!
Mesoamerican reef off the beaches of Tulum
The mesoamerican reef is located off the shores of Tulum, creating a barrier that can be seen on a windy day. Look out at the ocean and you will see where the waves break. This is where the reef starts in Tulum and stretches for kilometers beyond this point. If you take a dive or snorkel trip to this area you will see large colonies of stagorn and elkhorn coral.
The coral was named after these animals as it does look like the antlers on these animals.
What is elkhorn and staghorn coral?
Both of these coral species are part of the Acropora coral family. They are large, branching coral with thick and sturdy antler-like branches. Colonies are fast growing: branches increase in length by 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) per year when in ideal living conditions, with colonies reaching their maximum size in approximately 10-12 years. Over the last 10,000 years, elkhorn coral has been one of the three most important Caribbean corals contributing to reef growth and development and providing essential fish habitat.
If you are looking for fish while in the ocean, look out for elkhorn and staghor coral where fish hangout. Both of these species survive well in shallow water so snorkelers are in luck! Parrot fish, lobsters and damsel fish are known to hang out with the this coral species.
Enjoy an ocean adventure while in Tulum
Tulum is a special area for an ocean adventure. There has been little damage to this part of the Mesoamerican reef so enthusiasts will find fish and coral species not found in other areas. Diving and snorkeling is popular with daily tours available to guests and visitors of Tulum. The reef starts just meters off the beaches of Tulum, making snorkeling easy for beginners and interesting for seasoned snorkelers. If you want to snorkel within the reef break, your snorkel trip will feel like a treasure hunt as you search for independent colonies of coral that are separate from the barrier of the Mesoamerican reef just 100 to 200 meters from shore.
Looking for a local guide to show your the treasures of the Mesoamerican reef? Let us know so we can introduce you to some of our friends and local guides that are oce