Thursday, August 24, 2017


Gardineroseris (Agariciidae)

Welcome to the Gardinoseris 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 on a Gardinoseris start with the image browser below. Comparison with similar genera is also made below.

Vital Statistics

  • 1 species
  • Coral Finder p. 7c
  • COTW – Vol 2 p. 222-223


Found in the Indo-Pacific.  Generally uncommon, although in some locations may be abundant.

ID Tips

Gardineroseris planulata is the only species of this genus which forms massive or encrusting colonies. Massive colonies commonly bear flattened basal margins.  Not generally found in turbid conditions.

Corallites sit individually or in groups within distinct depressions in the colony surface.  Each depression is separated by a sharp, thin, high ridge, forming irregular, angular excavations.  Despite the clean demarcation made by these ridges the corallite walls are actually indistinct.

Septo-costae are fine, even, close together and run smoothly form the centre / bottom of the corallite to neatly meet their opposites at the top of the ridge.  Colony surface has distinctive clean, “excavated” look, sometimeslike an irregular honeycomb.  The septo-costae and lack of corallite walls are typical of the family Agariciidae.

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Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Gardineroseris within the comments of one key group (p7c) with other members of the Agariciidae family that exhibit septo-costae: Pavona, Psammocora, and Coscinaraea.  In truth the absence of Gardineroseris is a shortcoming of Version 1 of the Coral Finder and it should have been included, for want of a photo, on p.13. where it would be considered as a similar genus to Coeloseris. Rest assured it will be in Version 2 of the Coral Finder.

As mentioned earlier Gardineroseris may sometimes appear to have corallites with discrete common walls (cerioid). However, close inspection of the skeleton shows it to be septo-costate with corallites (or groups of corallites) separated by acute ridges on the colony surface.  Coarsely speaking Pavona and Leptoseris are superficially similar however the septo-costae of those genera are distinctive. Also, the  rounded colony surface ridges of Leptoseris are very different from the acute ridges of Gardineroseris.

There are two examples where Gardineroseris causes confusion for the beginner underwater: Pavona venosa and Coeloseris mayeri –  see images below. Corallites of Pavona venosa can appear similar to colonies of Gardineroseris planulata with an abundance of short valleys.  It is easily distinguished by having more irregular, widely separated septa-costae in 3 distinct orders, whereas Gardineroseris has fine, even, close septo-costae. Pavona venosa colonies are also usually take a knobbly sub-massive form.

Coeloseris also has a superficial resemblance to Gardineroseris because of its slightly excavated corallites with septo-costae that meet at the top of a ridge. Typically Gardineroseris has some short valleys with groups of  corallites. Underwater during the day Coeloseris usually has a “ladder like” appearance to its walls caused by partially retracted tentacles which is never the case with Gardineroseris.

Similar genus: Pavona venosa

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Similar genus: Coeloseris mayeri

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Taxonomic Changes


Learning Resources


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Dai, C.-F., & Lin, C.-H. (1992). Scleractinia of Taiwan: III. Family Agariciidae. Acta Oceanographica Taiwanica, 0(28), 80-101.
  • 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.

Suggested Reading – Other Topics

  • Fong, P., & Glynn, P. W. (1998). A dynamic size-structured population model: does disturbance control size structure of a population of the massive coral Gardineroseris planulata in the Eastern Pacific? Marine Biology, 130(4), 663-674.
  • Glynn, P. W., Colley, S. B., Gassman, N. J., Black, K., Cortes, J., & Mate, J. L. (1996). Reef coral reproduction in the eastern Pacific: Costa Rica, Panama, and Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) .3. Agariciidae (Pavona gigantea and Gardineroseris planulata). Marine Biology, 125(3), 579-601.
  • Humes, A. G. (1992). Copepoda associated with the coral Gardineroseris planulata (Dana) on the Great Barrier Reef, North Eastern Australia. Hydrobiologia, 234(1), 41-57.
  • Kim, I.-H. (2006). Copepoda (Poecilostomatoida : Anchimolgidae) associated with the scleractinian coral Gardineroseris planulata (Dana) from the Moluccas. Korean Journal of Systematic Zoology, 22(1), 63-78.