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Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Scleractinia > Family Fungiidae
Mole mushroom coral
Polyphyllia talpina

Family Fungiidae
updated Nov 2019
Where seen? This rather velvety looking mushroom coral is sometimes seen on some of our Southern shores. The coral is free-living (it is not attached to the surface) and large ones may be seen on coral rubble and among living corals.

Features: Skeleton longer than broad (15-25cm long) usually with rounded ends. Sometimes also oval and other irregular shapes. It has a central furrow but this is usually not distinct in large old animals.
The upper side has tiny short lines that form petal-shaped, radial patterns, instead of parallel lines as in other mushroom corals. There are mouths in the central furrow as well as scattered elsewhere on the body. Tentacles are short, cylindrical to conical and white-tipped. When the tentacles are extended, they hide the skeleton and give the animal a furry look. 'Talpina' means 'mole' in Latin possibly refering to this velvety texture which resembles the fur of a mole. Underside concave. Colours seen include brown, grey, cream to blue, purple and green.

Veron considers it to be colonial rather than a solitary polyp. It has many mouths
all over the upper surface.

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

Sisters Island, Jan 06

Petal-like, radial patterns.


Sentosa, Jul 05

Sentosa, Jun 06

Pulau Hantu, Aug 03

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

Mole mushroom corals on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

St John's Island, Apr 21
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.

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 Besar, Jan 10

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Pulau Senang, Jun 10


Pulau Salu, Apr 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.



  • Hoeksema, 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.
  • 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.
  • Erhardt, Harry and Daniel Knop. 2005. Corals: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 305 pp.
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