2019 35¢ Coral Reefs – Staghorn Coral
Value: 35¢ Postcard rate non-denominated
Issue Date: March 29, 2019
First Day City: St. Louis, MO
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA)
Printing Method: Offset, Microprint
Format: Coil of 100
Quantity Printed: 600,000,000
Staghorn coral are fast growers, making them some of the world's greatest reef builders. Many scientists credit the staghorn as one of the leading coral that built up the Caribbean coral reefs over the last 5,000 years.
The average staghorn coral can grow up to eight inches in branch length per year – reaching sizes of eight feet in diameter and four feet in height. Their lighter skeletons allow them to grow at this rate. Staghorn coral use this to their advantage so that they can receive more space and sunlight compared to neighboring coral on the reef.
There are nearly 400 species of staghorn coral. Some have the distinctive antler-like shape that give them their name. There are also species of staghorn coral that form into delicate plates up to 10 feet across. Some also form bush-shaped structures with finger-like branches. Regardless of the different species, staghorn coral will grow together in colonies. They form dense groups known as "thickets" that provide an essential habitat for marine life, including a variety of fish.
Staghorn coral were once abundant, but disease and climate change have taken a toll. The coral are now considered critically endangered. However, scientists are optimistic that the staghorn coral's ability to grow quickly will help it to recover its numbers over time.