Porites is a genus of stony corals with a circumtropical distribution. They are classified as small polyp stony corals. They tend to form encrusting, columnar or helmet-shaped colonies that can reach a tremendous age and a considerable size of several meters in diameter. A few species also grow branched and branch-like. If they reach the surface of the water, the upper portion dies off and only the sides continue to grow, allowing erosion to form a microatoll. Porites are zooxanthellate and feed on light and dissolved nutrients.

They require very clean water and high light levels for optimal coloration. A distinctive feature is that they are often commensally colonized by Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus). Differentiation between Porites and Montipora species is often difficult, and best done on dead specimens, as the skeletal structure of the polyps is important here: Porites usually have better defined corallite walls than Montipora, where these are weaker and often just rather rough. The closely related Bernardpora (formerly Goniopora stutchburyi) are also sometimes confused with Porites, but in principle has larger polyps. Porites are mostly beige to brown in color, rarely green, purple-bluish or striking yellow, and very rarely red specimens are said to occur.

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