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Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Alcyonaria/Octocorallia > Order Alcyonacea > Family Alcyoniidae
Starry leathery soft coral
Sinularia brassica*

Family Alcyoniidae

Updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This leathery coral with polyps like little glass stars is sometimes seen on some of our shores. Among coral rubble and sandy areas near reefs.

Features: The colony about 10-15cm in diameter. Sometimes covering large areas of 50cm or more.
The colony may be thick, disk-like with a highly ruffled edge, or encrusting with knobs, lobes and fingers. The surface of the leathery common tissue usually has many large spindle-shaped structures usually paler than the common tissue. This is more obvious when the colony is out of water and the autozooid polyps are retracted. Common tissue may be beige, pinkish to yellowish, or dark brown to purplish.

It has only one kind of polyp (autozooid) although there are very tiny spots among the autozooids giving the leathery common tissue has a rather 'crystalline' appearance. The transparent polyps are tiny (0.2cm), 8 short conical tentacles with tiny branches, the body column hardly seen. The autozooids can retract completely into the common tissue. In some, the autozooids emerge from small lumps or even long tubular segments of the common tissue. The animals harbour symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae).

During one night trip, a large colony was seen with many tiny brittle stars all over the surface. This has not been observed during daylight visits.

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Many fat, spindle shaped structures.

Terumbu Bemban, Jul 11

8 short fat branched tentacles.

Pulau Jong, Jul 07

Spindles embedded in common tissue.

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Apr 12

Spindles sticking out of torn common tissue.

Tuas, Dec 03
Tiny spots give the common tissue
a 'crystalline' appearance.

Labrador, Jul 05

Tiny transparent star-like polyps.

Tuas, Dec 03

Polyps appear on lumps or tubular extensions.

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

Starry leathery soft corals on Singapore shores

Photos of Starry leathery soft corals for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Pulau Tekukor, Jan 17

Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Pulau Biola, Dec 09

Terumbu Salu, Jan 10



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