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Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Alcyonaria/Octocorallia > Order Alcyonacea > Family Alcyoniidae
Black-and-white leathery soft coral
Cladiella sp.*
Family Alcyoniidae
updated Nov 2019

Where seen? This striking leathery coral is commonly seen on our Southern shores. On coral rubble.

Features: Colony usually 10-20cm, sometimes much larger. Sometimes several are near one another, these are probably clones. The colony may be encrusting or attached to hard surface by a broad short column. Colony has bumps, blobs or 'fingers' which are generally short and closely packed. The leathery common tissue is smooth to the touch and pale or white, although the central column many be orangey-pink. The common tissue can also contract, for example, finger-like structures can contract into rounded blobs.

Only one kind of polyp (autozooids). It has no siphonozooids. It thus has a smooth surface between the feathery autozooid polyps. The autozooid polyps are tiny (0.5cm or smaller) with a short body column and 8 short branched tentacles. The polyps are brown or greenish due to dense concentrations of zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae), particularly in the branches on the tentacles. When disturbed, the polyps retract rapidly into and reveal the white common tissue. This characteristic instantaneous colour change from brown to white is typical of this species.

Other leathery soft corals in the Family Alcyoniidae that look similar include Sinularia and Klyxum species.

Sisters Island, Nov 11

No siphonozooids, smooth surface
between feathery autozooid polyps.

Polyps are brown with a short body
column and 8 branched tentacles.

Sisters Island, Jan 12

Kusu Island, Apr 05

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Jul 10

Pulau Tekukor, May 07

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

Black-and-white leathery soft corals on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pulau Biola, Dec 09

Pulau Senang, Jun 10

Pulau Senang, Aug 10

Raffles Lighthouse, Jul 06

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Pulau Salu, Aug 10

Pulau Berkas, May 10

Cladiella species recorded for Singapore
from Y. Benayahu and L. M. Chou, 28 Feb 2010. On some Octocorallia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Alcyonacea) from Singapore.

  Family Alcyoniidae
Genus Cladiella
  Cladiella hartogi
Cladiella pachyclados



  • Y. Benayahu and L. M. Chou, 28 Feb 2010. On some Octocorallia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Alcyonacea) from Singapore, with a description of a new Cladiella species. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 58(1) Pp. 1-13.
  • Fabricius, Katharina and Philip Alderslade, 2001. Soft Corals and Sea Fans. Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territoriy. 264 pp
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