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Any of various hard corals of the genus Madrepora or of the order Scleractinia (formerly Madreporaria).

[Italian madrepora : madre, mother (from Latin māter, mātr-; see māter- in Indo-European roots) + -pora (alteration of poro, tufa, pore, from Late Latin porus, passageway; see pore2, or from Latin pōrus, calcareous stone, stalactite, from Greek pōros).]

mad′re·po′ri·an adj.
mad′re·por′ic adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Thus, for example, the bryozoans--encrusting sponges and madreporians that are generally dominant on walls at 131-295 ft (40-90 m) in depth in the central Mediterranean--are replaced by gorgonians and globulous sponges in areas subjected to strong currents.