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Corals Proposed for Listing under the ESA

coral video
Video: Protecting Coral Reefs

Credit: NOAA, Coral Reef Task Force, and National Park Service


staghorn coral, underwater photo
Staghorn Coral
(Acropora cervicornis)
Photo: NOAA

elkhorn coral, underwater photo
Elkhorn Coral
(Acropora palmata)
Photo: NOAA

Final listing decision on 66 corals and the reclassification of 2 Acropora corals expected June 2014

NMFS extended the final listing decision by 6 months in order to solicit additional data. We will complete our data solicitation efforts by October 2013 and expect to have a final decision in June 2014.

You can find comments received in the docket folder on

NOTE: This page pertains to the 2009 petition to list 83 corals under the ESA. Information on the 2013 petition to list 81 marine species (including 23 coral species) is also available on our website.

Species Proposed

NOAA Fisheries is proposing Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings for 66 coral species:

  • 59 in the Pacific
    • 7 would be listed as endangered
    • 52 would be listed as threatened
  • 7 in the Caribbean
    • 5 would be listed as endangered
    • 2 would be listed as threatened

In addition, we are proposing that 2 Caribbean species--elkhorn and staghorn corals--already listed under the ESA be reclassified from threatened to endangered.

Proposed Endangered

Atlantic/ Caribbean

  1. Acropora cervicornis - Staghorn coral*
  2. Acropora palmata - Elkhorn coral*
  3. Dendrogyra cylindrus - Pillar coral
  4. Montastraea annularis - Boulder star coral
  5. Montastraea faveolata - Mountainous star coral
  6. Mycetophyllia ferox - Cactus Coral
  7. Montastraea franksi - Star coral

* proposed to be reclassified from threatened to endangered


  1. Acropora jacquelineae
  2. Acropora lokani
  3. Acropora rudis
  4. Anacropora spinosa
  5. Euphyllia paradivisa
  6. Millepora foveolata
  7. Pocillopora elegans (E Pacific)

Proposed Threatened Species


  1. Agaricia lamarcki - Lamarck's Sheet Coral
  2. Dichocoenia stokesii - Elliptical Star Coral


  1. Acanthastrea brevis
  2. Acanthastrea hemprichii
  3. Acanthastrea ishigakiensis
  4. Acanthastrea regularis
  5. Acropora aculeus
  6. Acropora acuminate
  7. Acropora aspera
  8. Acropora dendrum
  9. Acropora donei
  10. Acropora globiceps
  11. Acropora horrida
  12. Acropora listeria
  13. Acropora microclados
  14. Acropora palmerae
  15. Acropora paniculata
  16. Acropora pharaonis
  17. Acropora polystoma
  18. Acropora retusa
  19. Acropora speciosa
  20. Acropora striata
  21. Acropora tenella
  22. Acropora vaughani
  23. Acropora verweyi
  24. Alveopora allingi
  25. Alveopora fenestrate
  26. Alveopora verrilliana
  27. Anacropora puertogalerae
  28. Astreopora cucullata
  29. Barabattoia laddi
  30. Caulastrea echinulata
  31. Euphyllia cristata
  32. Euphyllia paraencora
  33. Isopora crateriformis
  34. Isopora cuneata
  35. Millepora tuberosa
  36. Montipora angulate
  37. Montipora australiensis
  38. Montipora calcarea
  39. Montipora caliculata
  40. Montipora dilatata/ flabellata/ turgescens
  41. Montipora lobulata
  42. Montipora patula/ verrilli
  43. Pachyseris rugosa
  44. Pavona diffluens
  45. Pectinia alcicornis
  46. Physogyra lichtensteini
  47. Pocillopora danae
  48. Pocillopora elegans (Indo-Pacific)
  49. Porites horizontalata
  50. Porites napopora
  51. Porites nigrescens
  52. Seriatopora aculeate


In response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity [pdf] to list under the ESA and designate critical habitat for these species, NMFS reviewed the status of 82 species of corals (all petitioned species except for the Large Ivory Coral, Oculina varicosa). In April 2012, NMFS completed a status review report and draft Management Report of the candidate species of corals.

In November 2012, NMFS proposed to list 66 of those petitioned species of corals as threatened or endangered under the ESA.


The petition asserts that the following threats and other impacts are affecting these corals:

  • ocean warming
  • ocean acidification
  • dredging
  • coastal development
  • coastal point source pollution
  • agricultural and land use practices
  • disease
  • predation
  • reef fishing
  • aquarium trade
  • physical damage from boats and anchors
  • marine debris
  • aquatic invasive species

Additional Protections

These corals are also listed in CITES Appendix II.

Updated: February 19, 2014

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