Saturday, August 19, 2017


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Catalaphyllia (Euphyllidae)

Welcome to the Catalaphyllia genus landing page. In this section, you will find general information about this genus and tips on how to identify it. If you are looking to confirm an observation made with the Coral Finder , use the image browser below to identify a growth form similar to what you saw underwater. Then choose one of the following links for further comparison: meandering, or large expanded polyps.

Vital Statistics

  • 8 species
  • Coral Finder p. 6, 26, 27
  • COTW – Vol 2 p. 82-83


Predominantly in the central Indo-Pacific.

ID Tips

Catalaphyllia forms free-living colonies (20cm) in turbid, protected areas.  The corallites grow in shallow, meandering valleys with separate walls (flabello-meandroid). The skeletal structures are generally hidden by the fleshy, striped, oral disc, ringed by long pink-tipped tentacles.  This genus is very distinctive.

The large day-time expanded polyps and thick, smooth septa are characteristic of the Euphyllidae.

(slide show with photos of oral disc/tentacles and when tentacles retracted.)

Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Catalaphyllia in three key groups with Euphyllia and Heliofungia being candidates for confusion.

Similar genera to meandering Catalaphyllia (Coral Finder p6, 26-27)

The meandering form of Catalaphyllia can be confused with Euphyllia but they are easily separated by the fleshy, oral disc typical of CatalaphylliaEuphyllia has shorter tentacles and deeper corallite walls.

Meandering Catalaphyllia

Similar genus: Euphyllia

Similar genera to Catalaphyllia with large expanded polyps (Coral Finder p27)

Catalaphyllia can be confused with Heliofungia due to the similar anemone-like tentacles, but they may be differentiated by examining the skeletal structures.  Catalaphyllia colonies form meandering valleys, whereas Heliofungia forms a typical Fungiidae skeleton with regular, thin septa running from the centre to the edges of the colony.


Similar genus: Heliofungia


Taxonomic Changes

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Euphyllidae family page


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Veron, J. E. N. (1985). Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
  • Veron, J. E. N. (2000). Corals of the World. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Marine Science.
  • Veron, J. E. N., & Pichon, M. (1980). Scleractinia of Eastern Australia.  Part 3, Families Agaraciidae, Siderastreidae, Fungiidae, Oculinidae, Merulinidae, Mussidae, Pectiniidae, Carophylliidae, Dendrophylliidae. Australian Institute of Marine Science Monograph Series, IV, 471.
  • Wells, J. W. (1971). Notes of Indo-Pacific scleractinian corals. Part 7: Catalaphyllia, a new genus of reef corals. Pacific Science, 25, 368-371.

Suggested Reading – Other Topics