hard corals text index | photo index
Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Scleractinia > Family Dendrophyllidae > Turbinaria sp.
Flowery disk coral
Turbinaria peltata

Family Dendrophylliidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This hard coral that forms thick plates with large fat polyps is commonly seen on many of our shores. It can grow in murky water so it is among the commonly encountered hard corals on many of our shores.

Features: Colonies up to 20-50cm, elsewhere said to reach several metres across. Colony may be plates, thick (about 1cm) with polyps only on one side of the plate, or columns with polyps on both sides. With the large polyps slightly expanded, the colony looks like a flower-studded disk. When fully expanded, the polyps may completely cover the 'bare' parts betweeen them so the colony appears 'furry'. Colony may be flat and disk-shaped, sometimes folded thus resembling a cabbage, or with columns growing from the centre.

Corallites largest of the disk corals (average 0.6cm), crowded at the edges but spaced apart elsewhere with a smooth surface in between them. When the tissue is completely retracted, the corallite may look like a shallow sunken cup, sometimes short tubes. The polyps are large (1-1.5cm in diameter), fleshy with a thick body column, many opaque long tentacles, and are usually colourful. Because the polyps are usually widely spaced apart, they often look like small anemones with a distinctive ring of tentacles surrounding a central mouth. Unlike other Turbinaria species, the polyps are often expanded even during the day.

Colony colour usually overall grey or brown but often with several different muted colours displayed on one colony. For example, the polyps may have a contrasting colour against a duller background plate colour. Colours seen include various shades and combinations of orange, pink, brown, yellow, green, blue and purple.

Sentosa, Jun 07

Small colony.
Sentosa, May 07

Small colony.
Cyrene Reef, Jun 08

Columns in the centre of the disk.
St John's Island, Jan 06

Tuas, Nov 02

Tuas, Apr 04

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Jul 11

Pulau Senang, Aug 10


Pulau Berkas, May 10


Terumbu Buran, Nov 10

Pulau Biola, Dec 09

Terumbu Salu, Jan 10

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Flowery disk corals on Singapore shores

Photos of Flowery disk corals for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Pulau Sekudu, Jun 17
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Berlayar Creek, Oct 17
Photo shared by Abel Yeo on facebook.

Terumbu Selegie, Jun 11
Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his flickr.


  • Turbinaria peltata on Corals of the World online on the Australian Institute of Marine Science website: Technical fact sheet.
  • Turbinaria peltata on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website: Technical fact sheet.
  • Turbinaria on Reef Corals of the Indo-Malayan Seas, the Marine Species Identification Portal: Technical fact sheet.
  • Turbinaria peltata on SeaLife Base: Technical fact sheet.


  • 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.
  • 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.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008