soft corals text index | photo index
Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Alcyonaria/Octocorallia > Order Alcyonacea > Family Alcyoniidae
Pimply leathery soft coral
Lobophytum sp.*
Family Alcyoniidae
updated Mar 2020

Where seen? This large leathery soft coral often resembles a pile of pimply rubber gloves at low tide. It is seen on our Southern shores, on coral rubble.

Features: Colony 20-40cm or larger. The colony usually looks like a mushroom; with a flat, broad disk attached to a hard surface by a very short, very broad central base. The edge of the disk usually is fringed with long cylindrical finger-like protrusions. When out of water, the colony flops over and may look like a pile of discarded rubber gloves! There are usually no radiating ridges on the disk. The leathery common tissue in pastel shades of beige, yellow, pink, green, lilac.

The colony has both feeding polyps (autozooids) and water pumping polyps (siphonozooids). Autozooid polyps have short fat body columns (about 1cm) with 8 branched tentacles that are usually white. The siphonozooids do not emerge from the body membrane, but form low 'pimples' on the surface. Siphonozooids function to pump water through the colony. The autozooids can retract completely into the common tissue. Out of water, the surface of the common tissue has two different kinds of holes; bigger ones where the retracted autozooids are, and smaller holes or bumps where the siphonozooids are.

Sometimes confused with Smooth leathery soft coral (Sinularia sp.) which does not have siphonozooids and thus has a smooth common tissue.

Pulau Semakau, Sep 05

Pulau Hantu, Apr 06

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

Pimply leathery soft corals on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Beting Bemban Besar, Mar 20
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Pulau Biola, Dec 09

Terumbu Salu, Jan 10

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Senang, Jun 10

Pulau Salu, Jun 10



  • 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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