Wednesday, September 20, 2017


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Fungia (Fungiidae)

Welcome to the Fungia 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 verify what you saw underwater. Then click on the following link for further comparison with a similar genus: Cycloseris.

Vital Statistics

  • 18 species
  • Coral Finder p. 24
  • COTW – Vol 2 p. 256-285


Widespread in the Indo-Pacific.

ID Tips

Fungia form solitary discs up to 30cm in diameter that are attached as a juvenile, but become free-living as the Fungia grows.  The discs range from round to elongate and may be domed in the centre, where a thin slit-like mouth may be seen.  They are found across all reef zones but rarely in exposed areas.

The septa and costae are thick, and their teeth and spines vary in size from fine to large, allowing species level identification.  The arrangement of septa running down the upper surface and costae running along the lower surface are characteristic of the Fungiidae.  Check out the Fungiidae training video for more information.

(slide show with photos of  different sized teeth)

Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Fungia in one key group with Cycloseris being a candidate for confusion.

Similar genera to Fungia (Coral Finder p24)

Fungia can be confused with small Cycloseris, but may be easily separated by examining the underside of the colony; juvenile Fungia are attached, but become free-living with age, whereas Cycloseris is free-living throughout its life.  If the individual is attached, it must be Fungia, if it is free-living check for the attachment scar characteristic of Fungia.  In addition, Cycloseris forms small round solitary corallites, whereas Fungia are larger, may be more elongate in shape and have larger septal teeth.


Similar genus: Cycloseris


Taxonomic Changes

A considerable amount of work has been done regarding Fungia and its taxonomy.  The reading list below provides some of the key articles describing the changes and discoveries that have been made over time.

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Fungiidae family page
  • Fungiidae training video


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Claereboudt, M., & Hoeksema, B. W. (1987). Fungia (Verrillofungia) spinifer spec. nov., a scleractinian coral (Fungiidae) from the Indo-Malayan region. Zoologische Mededelingen, 61, 303-309.
  • Gittenberger, A., & Hoeksema, B. W. (2006). Phenotypic plasticity revealed by molecular studies on reef corals of Fungia (Cycloseris) spp. (Scleractinia : Fungiidae) near river outlets. Contributions to Zoology, 75(3-4), 195-201.
  • Hoeksema, B. W. (1989). Taxonomy, Phylogeny and Biogeography of Mushroom Corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae). Zoologische Verhandelingen, 254, 1-471.
  • Hoeksema, B. W. (1993). Historical biogeography of Fungia (Pleuractis) spp (Scleractinia: Fungiidae), including a new species from the Seychelles. Zoologische Mededelingen, 67, 639-654.
  • Hoeksema, B. W. (1993). Mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) of Madang Lagoon, northern Papua New Guinea: an annotated checklist with the description of Cantharellus jebbi spec. nov. Zoologische Mededelingen, 67, 1-19.
  • Hoeksema, B. W., & Dai, C. F. (1991). Scleractinia of Taiwan.  2. Family Fungiidae (including a new species). Bulletin of the Institute of Zoology Academia Sinica, 30(3), 203-228.
  • Hoeksema, B. W., & Moka, W. (1989). Species assemblages and phenotypes of mushroom corals (Fungiidae) related to coral reef habitats in the Flores Sea. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research, 23(2), 149-160.
  • 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. (2002). New species described in ‘Corals of the World’: 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. (1966). Evolutionary development of the scleractinian family Fungiidae. Paper presented at the Symposium of the Zoological Society of London.

Suggested Reading – Other Topics

  • Abramovitch-Gottlib, L., Dahan, D., Golan, Y., & Vago, R. (2005). Effect of light regimes on the microstructure of the reef-building coral Fungia simplex. Materials Science & Engineering C-Biomimetic and Supramolecular Systems, 25(1), 81-85.
  • Alamaru, A., Bronstein, O., Loya, Y., & Dishon, G. (2009). Opportunistic feeding by the fungiid coral Fungia scruposa on the moon jellyfish Aurelia aurita. Coral Reefs, 28(4), 865-865.
  • Chadwick, N. E., & Loya, Y. (1990). Regeneration after experimental breakage in the solitary reef coral Fungia granulosa Klunzinger, 1879. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 142(3), 221-234.
  • Chadwickfurman, N., & Loya, Y. (1992). Migration, habitat use, and competition among mobile corals (Scleractinia, Fungiidae) in the Gulf of Eilat, Red Sea. Marine Biology, 114(4), 617-623.
  • Gilmour, J. P. (2002). Acute sedimentation causes size-specific mortality and asexual budding in the mushroom coral, Fungia fungites. Marine and Freshwater Research, 53(4), 805-812.
  • Gilmour, J. P. (2004). Size-structures of populations of the mushroom coral Fungia fungites: the role of disturbance. Coral Reefs, 23(4), 493-504.
  • Goffredo, S., & Chadwick-Furman, N. E. (2000). Abundance and distribution of mushroom corals (Scleractinia : Fungiidae) on a coral reef at Eilat, northern Red Sea. Bulletin of Marine Science, 66(1), 241-254.
  • Goffredo, S., & Chadwick-Furman, N. E. (2003). Comparative demography of mushroom corals (Scleractinia : Fungiidae) at Eilat, northern Red Sea. Marine Biology, 142(3), 411-418.
  • Goreau, T. F., Goreau, N. I., Sootryen, T., & Yonge, C. M. (1969). On a new commensal mytilid (Mollusca – Bivalva) opening into coelenteron of Fungia scutaria (Coelenterata). Journal of Zoology, 158, 171-&.
  • Hoeksema, B. W. (1991). Control of bleaching in mushroom coral populations (Scleractinia, Fungiidae) in the Java Sea – Stress tolerance and interference by life history strategy. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 74(2-3), 225-237.
  • Hoeksema, B. W. (1991). Evolution of body size in mushroom corals (Scleractinia, Fungiidae) and its ecomorphological consequences. Netherlands Journal of Zoology, 41(2-3), 112-129.
  • Jacoby, V., Kramarsky-Winter, E., Loya, Y., & Mokady, O. (2004). The dynamics of multiple mouth formation in Fungia granulosa: possible patterning mechanisms. Hydrobiologia, 530, 275-281.
  • Mangubhai, S., Harris, A., & Graham, N. A. J. (2007). Synchronous daytime spawning of the solitary coral Fungia danai (Fungiidae) in the Chagos Archipelago, central Indian Ocean. Coral Reefs, 26(1), 15-15.
  • Marlow, H., & Martindale, M. Q. (2006). Early development through gastrulation in the scleractinian corals Pocillopora meandrina and Fungia scutaria. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 46, E227-E227.
  • Schuhmacher, H. (1979). Experiments on adaptations to sedimentation and substrate in Fungiid corals (Scleractinia, Fungiidae). Internationale Revue Der Gesamten Hydrobiologie, 64(2), 207-243.
  • Sweeney, B. M. (1976). Circadian rhythms in corals, particularly Fungiidae. Biological Bulletin, 151(1), 236-246.
  • Yamashiro, H. (1985). Boring snail Leptoconchus striatus Ruppel living in association wth solitary coral Fungia. Zoological Science, 2(6), 993-993.
  • Yamashiro, H., & Yamazato, K. (1987). Repair and regrowth of the detachment site of the coral Fungia fungites. Zoological Science, 4(6), 1101-1101.