you learn only 3 things about them ...
Most mushroom corals are not attached to the ground as
Most are giant solitary polyps (although some are colonial).
sandy areas in a reef may have many of these animals.
Watch your step!
seen? These hard corals that may be mushroom-shaped or
long and tongue-like are sometimes seen on many of our Southern shores.
In sheltered reefy lagoons, they can be quite plentiful. Often, mushroom
corals of several different species are found together. On the Northern
shores, they were only encountered on Beting Bronok.
Most members of the Family Fungiidae are solitary corals that are
free-living (i.e., lie unattached) as adults. The Family Fungiidae
is restricted to the Indo-Pacific.
Features: Unlike most other hard corals which are colonies of small polyps,
most mushroom corals are a single giant polyp. Some species have a
circular disk-like skeleton, others are long and tongue-like. Most
have short tentacles, except for the Sunflower
mushroom coral (Heliofungia actiniformis) that has such
long tentacles that it is often mistaken
for a sea anemone.
have variable colours, often the mouth is the most strikingly coloured.
In some, the tissue around the mouth is banded. Their tentacles are
often extended in daytime. According to Veron, the violet or bright
pink patches seen on some mushroom hard corals are due to damage and
A young mushroom coral starts life attached to a surface, and looks
like a tiny stalked mushroom. In many species, as the coral matures
eventually breaks away from the stalk and lives life as an adult unattached
to the bottom. In some, the older coral remains attached and the stalk
is obscured by the growing disk.
Free-living mushroom corals can move, though very slowly. They do
this by inflating and deflating its tissues. While smaller ones may
be able to right themselves should they be accidentally overturned,
bigger ones will die if this happens to them. Please don't disturb
the mushroom corals.
What do they eat? Almost all mushroom corals harbour
symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) within their bodies. 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.
Living on a mushroom: A mushroom
coral is often home to different kinds of small animals from shrimps
to barnacles and worms.
Baby mushrooms: Some species of
mushroom corals can reproduce by special asexual reproduction. A daughter
colony (anthocauli) is formed when a part of the parent's skeleton
loses its calcium (decalcification) resulting in clones that develop
on the parent's body and become self-sufficient before detaching from
and threats: The Sunflower mushroom coral (Heliofungia
actiniformis) and some other mushroom corals are listed as threatened
on the IUCN global listing. Like
other creatures of the intertidal zone, all mushroom corals 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.
of a mushroom coral.
St. John's Island, Jan 06
Pulau Hantu, Jun 10
mushroom corals start life
attached to a hard surface on stalks.
Tanah Merah, Jul 2011
on underside of dead mushroom coral.
Sisters Island, Aug 08
Fungiidae recorded for Singapore
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.
(select species from list) on Corals of the World online on the
Australian Institute of Marine Science website: Technical fact
Fungiidae (enter Fungiidae in search bar) on the IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species website: Technical fact sheet.
coral munches on jellyfish on the wild shores of singapore
- Koh, Esther
G. L. and L. M. Chou. 1989. The Mushroom Corals of Singapore.
National University of Singapore. 45pp.
Bert W. and Esther G. L. Koh. 30 Dec 2009. Depauration
of the mushroom coral fauna (Fungiidae) of Singapore (1860s-2006)
in changing reef conditions (pdf). Raffles Bulletin of
Zoology Supplement No. 22: 91-101.
- Hoeksama, Bert W. 30 Dec 2009. Attached mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) in sediment-stressed reef conditions at Singapore, including a new species and a new record. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement No. 22: 97-107.
- 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.
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.
Harry and Daniel Knop. 2005. Corals:
Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 305 pp.
Eric H. 2001. Aquarium
Corals: Selection, Husbandry and Natural History T.F. H Publications. 464 pp
- 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.