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Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Scleractinia > Family Agariciidae
Agaricid corals
Family Agariciidae
updated Nov 2019
Where seen? These hard corals with intricately patterned surfaces are sometimes seen on our undisturbed Southern shores.

Features: These corals have intricate patterns on their surfaces. Colonies may be boulder-shaped (massive) or plate-like (laminar). The polyps are tiny and lack tentacles. They rely on mucus to gather suspended food particles from the water.

Leptoseris species (Leafy corals) have colonies with delicate leafy shapes, some species form small thin plates. Unlike the similar-looking Pavona species, Leptoseris corals have polyps appearing on one side of the leaf-like structure while Pavona corals have polyps on both sides. Veron suggests the differences between Leptoseris and Pavona are somewhat arbitrary.

What do they eat? All members of Family Agariciidae harbour microscopic, single-celled symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae). The algae undergo photosynthesis to produce food from sunlight. The food produced is shared with the host, which in return provides the algae with shelter and minerals. It is believed this additional source of nutrients from the zooxanthellae help hard corals produce their hard skeletons and thus expand their size faster.

Status and threats: Some of our Agaricid corals are listed as threatened on the IUCN global listing. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors, and over-collection by hobbyists also have an impact on local populations.

Ringed plate coral.
Pulau Semakau, Aug 07

Castle coral.
Terumbu Bemban, Jul 07

Lettuce coral.
Terumbu Hantu, Jul 18

Some Agaricid corals on Singapore shores

Family Agariciidae recorded for Singapore
from Danwei Huang, Karenne P. P. Tun, L. M Chou and Peter A. Todd. 30 Dec 2009. An inventory of zooxanthellate sclerectinian corals in Singapore including 33 new records
**the species found on many shores in Danwei's paper.

in red are those listed as threatened on the IUCN global list.

  Family Agariciidae
  Gardineroseris planulata (Honeycomb corals)

Pachyseris rugosa
(Castle coral) (Vulnerable)
Pachyseris speciosa**
(Ringed plate coral)

Pavona sp. (Lettuce corals) with list of species recorded for Singapore

Genus Leptoseris (Leafy corals)
Leptoseris explanata
Leptoseris hawaiiensis
Leptoseris scabra**


  • Danwei Huang, Karenne P. P. Tun, L. M Chou and Peter A. Todd. 30 Dec 2009. An inventory of zooxanthellate sclerectinian corals in Singapore including 33 new records (pdf). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement No. 22: 69-80.
  • Veron, Jen. 2000. Corals of the World Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia. 3 volumes.
  • Chou, L. M., 1998. A Guide to the Coral Reef Life of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 128 pages.
  • Chou Loke Meng. 1989. Hard corals of Singapore. Reef Ecology Study Team, the National University of Singapore. A set of 4 posters.
  • Erhardt, Harry and Daniel Knop. 2005. Corals: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 305 pp.
  • Borneman, Eric H. 2001. Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry and Natural History T.F. H Publications. 464 pp
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Ng, P. K. L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore. The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.
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