hard corals text index | photo index
Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Zoantharia/Hexacorallia > Order Scleractinia
Brain corals
Family Lobophylliidae
updated Jun 13
Where seen? These dome-shaped hard corals do somewhat resemble fleshy brains and are often seen on many of our Southern shores. Lobophyllia and Symphyllia were previously in the Family Mussidae.

Features: Members of the Family Lobophylliidae develop into large colonies with heavy skeletons. The thick walls of Lobophyllia and Symphyllia form meandering valleys, and when submerged is covered with thick fleshy tissue, thus resulting in their common names. The walls have prominent 'teeth'.

Some species of Lobophyllia and Symphyllia look very similar and requires close examination to differentiate. On this website they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Sometimes mistaken for Corals with maze-like patterns (Family Faviidae), which have thinner corallite walls without large 'teeth'.

Status and threats: Some members of the Family Lobophylliidae recorded for Singapore are listed as globally threatened by the IUCN.

Grooved brain coral
Pulau Hantu, Apr 06

With tentacles expanded.

Lobed brain coral
Sisters Island, May 07

Brain corals on Singapore shores

Here are some general differences between the two common kinds of brain corals. But some species may resemble one another. To positively identify the species, closer examination of internal parts is required. On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.
Lobed brain coral
Lobophyllia sp.
Corallite walls are separate.
Valleys not as meandering.

Grooved brain coral
Symphyllia sp.
Corallite walls are joined.
There is usually a slight groove
or dent along the top of the wall.
Valleys wide and more meandering.

Family Lobophylliidae 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.
in red are those listed as threatened on the IUCN global list.


  Family Lobophylliidae (previously Mussidae)
  Acanthastrea echinata**
Acanthastrea hillae**
(Near Threatened)
Acanthastrea rotundoflora
(Near Threatened)

Lobophyllia
sp. (Lobed brain coral) with list of species recorded for Singapore.

Symphyllia
sp. (Grooved brain coral) with list of species recorded for Singapore.

Links

  • Family Mussidae (select species from list) on Corals of the World online on the Australian Institute of Marine Science website: Technical fact sheet.
  • Family Mussidae on Reef Corals of the Indo-Malayan Seas, the Marine Species Identification Portal: Technical fact sheet.
  • Family Mussidae (enter Mussidae 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
www.flickr.com
FREE photos from wildsingapore tagged with mussidae. Make your own badge here.
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