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Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Scleractinia > Family Fungiidae
Tongue mushroom coral
Herpolitha limax*

Family Fungiidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This long, often tongue-shaped mushroom hard coral is sometimes seen on many of our Southern shores. This coral is free-living as an adult (it is not attached to the surface) and large ones may be seen on in coral rubble and among living corals.

Features: Skeleton longer than broad, 20-30cm long with rounded ends, though some may have rather pointed ends. Comes in a wide variety of shapes from long and narrow, oval to circular, flat or rather humped, also bomerang shaped. Specimens in T-, Y- or X- shapes are also seen. This is generally due to regeneration following damage.

A prominent central furrow. Upper surface with thin lines radiating from the central furrow. Lines are parallel, discontinuous with sparse, fine 'teeth' that usually can't be seen in the field. The underside usually concave, some with radiating lines of short bumps.

Veron considers it to be a colonial animal with many mouths. Numerous mouths are found in the central furrow and mouths may also be found elsewhere on the upper surface. The sparse 'tentacles' are short, slender and usually transparent, often white-tipped. These are not true tentacles but inflated portions of the tissues. These are only 'extended' at night. Colours seen include light blue, green and purple..

Sometimes confused with other long mushroom corals. Here's more on how to tell apart elongated mushroom hard corals.

Pulau Hantu, Feb 08

Tiny tentacles


Many mouths

Kusu Island, Jun 04

Thin overlapping discontinuous walls.

Tiny tentacles

Pulau Tekukor, May 07


Terumbu Raya, Jun 11

Raffles Lighthouse, Jul 06

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

Tongue mushroom corals on Singapore shores

Photos of Tongue mushroom corals for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

South Cyrene, Oct 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Terumbu Bemban, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Terumbu Pempang Darat, Jun 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Terumbu Semakau, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Terumbu Salu, Jan 10

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr


  • Herpolitha limax on Corals of the World online on the Australian Institute of Marine Science website: Technical fact sheet.
  • Herpolitha limax on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website: Technical fact sheet.
  • Herpolitha limax on SeaLife Base: Technical fact sheets.


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