Welcome to the Herpolitha 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: Ctenactis.
- 2 species
- Coral Finder p. 25
- COTW – Vol 2 p. 291-293
Found in the Indo-Pacific.
Herpolitha form free-living, elongate colonies. The colonies are domed in the centre, where a thin slit-like furrow containing a number of mouths may be seen. Further secondary mouths are scattered over the colony. Herpolitha is generally found in shallow reef zones.
The septa have large saw-like teeth, and are disjointed so they do not run continuously all the way to the colony edge. 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 disjointed septa)
The Coral Finder lists Herpolitha in one key group with Ctenactis being a candidate for confusion.
Similar genera to Herpolitha (Coral Finder p24-25)
Herpolitha can be confused with Ctenactis, but may be easily separated by the colonial nature of Herpolitha; secondary mouths may be seen across the colony surface. Ctenactis may have more than one mouth, but they are found in the axial-furrow. The septal teeth of Herpolitha are also smaller than those of Ctenactis.
Similar genus: Ctenactis
- Fungiidae family page
- Fungiidae training video
Suggested Reading – Identification Tools
- 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., & 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.
- Scheer, G., & Pillai, C. S. G. (1974). Report on the Scleractinia from the Nicobar Islands. Stuttgart: Zoologica.
- 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. (1966). Evolutionary development of the scleractinian family Fungiidae. Paper presented at the Symposium of the Zoological Society of London.
Suggested Reading – Other Topics
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.