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Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Scleractinia
Merulinid corals
Family Merulinidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This family now contains most of the commonly encountered corals on Singapore shores. Including those that used to be in Family Faviidae. They take on a wide variety of shapes from boulder to plates, leafy to branching.

St. John's Island, Aug 08

Terumbu Bemban, Apr 11

Terumbu Raya, Mar 11

Sisters Island, Oct 11

Merulinid corals on Singapore shores




Trumpet coral
Colony appears boulder-shaped,
but is not solid.

Meteor coral
Colony boulder-shaped,
sometimes in hillocks.
 

Corallites large trumpet-shaped, long narrow flaring to oval opening.

Corallites a tiny circular ring often not packed tightly, with tiny bumps between the corallites.
 


Purple-and-white ring coral
Colony boulder-shaped.

Small ring coral
Colony boulder-shaped.

Big ring coral
Colony boulder-shaped.

Corallites a tiny ring often packed tightly, walls purple, polyps fleshy white or greenish.

Corallites small circular ring often packed tightly.

Corallites large ring-shaped often squashed tightly so they may be oval or bean-shaped.


Tiny hexa coral
Colony boulder-shaped.


Small hexa coral
Colony boulder-shaped.


Toothed hexagonal coral
Colony boulder-shaped.

Corallites with shared walls that form tiny hexagonal cells.

Corallites with shared walls that form small hexagonal cells.

Corallites with shared walls that form hexagonal cells. The walls have relatively large 'teeth'.


Smooth hexa coral
Colony boulder-shaped.

Columnar hexa coral
Colony encrusting or dome-shaped, with untidy lumps or columns.


Honeycomb hexa coral
Colony boulder-shaped.


Corallites hexagonal with shared walls, a smooth surface in between the corallites.

Corallites may jut out with thick, shared walls, forming irregular, sharp angled, usually hexagonal cells.

Corallites with thin, tall, shared walls that form large hexagonal cells.


Maze hexa corals
Colony boulder-shaped.

Jigsaw maze coral
Colony boulder-shaped often spherical.

Other maze corals
Colony encrusting or boulder-shaped.

Corallites with shared walls forming irregular hexagons or short maze-like valleys.

Corallites with shared parallel walls that form long meandering valleys.

Corallites with shared walls often thick forming long meandering valleys, maze-like or hexagonal patterns that are coarser than other kinds of maze favid corals.

Family Merulinidae 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.
Groups based on in Veron, Jen. 2000. Corals of the World.
in red are those listed as threatened on the IUCN global list.
*from WORMS


  Merulinid corals seen awaiting identification
Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination with a microscope. On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.
  Hexagonal corals
Columnar hexa coral
Honeycomb hexa coral
Maze hexa corals
Small hexa coral
Smooth hexa coral
Tiny hexa coral
Toothed hexa coral

Maze corals
Jigsaw maze coral
Other maze corals

Ring corals
Big ring coral

Purple-and-white ring coral
Small ring coral

  Family Merulinidae
  Barabattoia amicorum**=Dipsastraea amicorum*

Caulastrea
sp. (Trumpet corals) with list of species recorded for Singapore.

Cyphastrea
sp. (Tiny ring favid corals) with list of species recorded for Singapore.

Echinopora sp. (Hedgehog corals) with list of species recorded for Singapore.


Favia
sp.=Dipsastraea sp.*
Group 1: With small corallites (averaging less than 8mm in diameter)
Favia laxa**
(Near Threatened)=Dipsastraea laxa*
Favia stelligera
(Near Threatened)=Goniastrea stelligera*

Group 2: With medium corallites (averaging 8-12mm in diameter)
Favia matthaii**
(Near Threatened)=Dipsastraea matthaii*
Favia pallida**=Dipsastraea pallida*
Favia speciosa**=Dipsastraea speciosa*

Group 3: With large corallites (averaging more than 12mm in diameter)
Favia danae**=Dipsastraea danai*
Favia favus**=Dipsastraea favus*
Favia lizardensis**
(Near Threatened)=Dipsastraea lizardensis*
Favia maritima
(Near Threatened)=Dipsastraea maritima*
Favia maxima**
(Near Threatened)=Dipsastraea maxima*
Favia rotumana**=Dipsastraea rotumana*
Favia rotundata
(Near Threatened)=Favites rotundata*
Favia veroni
(Near Threatened)=Dipsastraea veroni*

Favites
sp.
Group 2: With small corallites (6-10mm in diameter)
Favites chinensis**
(Near Threatened)
Favites pentagona**

Group 3: With middle-sized corallites (10-13mm in diameter)
Favites abdita**
(Near Threatened)

Favites complanata**
(Near Threatened)
Favites halicora**
(Near Threatened)
Favites russelli
(Near Threatened)

Group 4: With large corallites (over 14mm in diameter)
Favites flexuosa**
(Near Threatened)
Favites paraflexuosa**
(Near Threatened)

Goniastrea
sp.
Group 1: Honeycomb pattern of corallites (monocentric) with corallite diameter mostly less than 5mm in diameter
Goniastrea edwardsi**
Goniastrea minuta
(Near Threatened)
Goniastrea retiformis**

Group 2: Predominantly honeycomb pattern of corallites (monocentric) with corallite more than 5mm in diameter
Goniastrea aspera**
Goniastrea palauensis**
(Near Threatened)

Group 3: Predominantly brain-like pattern of corallites (meandroid)
Goniastrea australensis**
Goniastrea favulus**
(Near Threatened)
Goniastrea pectinata**


Hydnophora
sp. (Horn corals) with list of species recorded for Singapore

Merulina
sp. (Ridged plate corals)
Merulina ampliata**
Merulina scabricula

Montastrea
sp.
Group 1: With small corallites (less than 7mm in diameter)
Montastrea curta**=Astrea curta

Group 2: With middle-sized corallites (5-8 mm in diameter)
Montastrea annuligera
(Near Threatened)=Astrea annuligera*
Montastrea colemani
(Near Threatened)=Favites colemani*

Group 3: With large corallites (more than 9mm in diameter)
Montastrea magnistellata**
(Near Threatened)=Favites magnistellata*
Montastrea valenciennesi**
(Near Threatened)=Favites valenciennesi*

Mycedium elephantotus**

Scapophyllia cylindrica

Oulophyllia
sp.
Oulophyllia bennettae**
(Near Threatened)
Oulaphyllia crispa**
(Near Threatened)

Pectinia
sp. (Carnation coral) with list of species recorded for Singapore

Platygyra
sp.
Group 1: Honeycomb pattern of corallites (monocentric) or brain-like but forming only short valleys

Platygyra pini**
Platygyra ryukyuensis
(Near Threatened)
Platygyra verweyi**
(Near Threatened)

Group 2: Primarily brain-like pattern of corallites (meandroid)
Platygyra daedalea**
Platygyra sinensis**
Platygyra lamellina
(Near Threatened)

Trachyphyllia geoffroyi

Links

  • Family Merulinidae (select species from list) on Corals of the World online on the Australian Institute of Marine Science website: Technical fact sheet.
  • Family Merulinidae on Reef Corals of the Indo-Malayan Seas, the Marine Species Identification Portal: Technical fact sheet.
  • Family Merulinidae (enter Merulinidae in search bar) on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website: Technical fact sheet.
References
  • 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
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