Wednesday, September 20, 2017


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Mycedium (Pectinidae)

Welcome to the Mycedium 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 genus similar to what you saw underwater. Then choose one of the following links for further comparison with similar genera: Echinophyllia, or Oxypora.

The basic coral biology introduced in the Terms section of the website is just a starting point for understanding and identifying corals.  There is an amazing array of variation and adaptation that provides insight into the unique ways that different genera and species grow, reproduce and proliferate underwater.  One area that is of continued interest is the feeding behaviour of corals.  The use of tentacles to catch food is a well recognised characteristic of scleractinian corals.  This food supplements energy gains from the algal symbiont.  One species of Mycedium has been shown to gain food in a different manner, whereby tentacles are not extended, instead the layer of mucus covering the surface of the colony catches organic matter suspended in the water column and transports the food to the polyp mouth using the mechanisms of gravity and water pressure.  For more information check out  Schlichter & Brendelberger (1998) in the Suggested Reading list below.

Vital Statistics

  • 5 species
  • Coral Finder p. 17c, 19, 20c, 21c
  • COTW – Vol 2 p. 342-347


Currently found in Indo-Pacific

ID Tips

Mycedium colonies grow in thin tiered or laminar plates, and they can be found in a range of more sheltered environments.

The corallites range in size (5-15mm), are rounded in shape and are raised above the colony surface.  The corallites are inclined towards the outer edges of the colony producing a distinctive ‘nose’ shaped appearance. The costae are thick and can be clearly seen running between corallites, out towards the edge of the colony.

(slide show with photos of inclined corallites)

Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Mycedium in one key group, with Echinophyllia and Oxypora being possible candidates for confusion.

Similar genera to Mycedium (Coral Finder 19)

Initially Mycedium may be confused with Echinophyllia and Oxypora; however, the corallites of Mycedium are neater and are clearly inclined towards the edges of the colony producing a ‘nose’ like shape.  The corallites of Echinophyllia and Oxypora are not significantly inclined.


Similar genus: Echinophyllia

Similar genus: Oxypora


Taxonomic Changes

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Pectinidae family page


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Chevalier, J. P. (1975). Les scleractiniaires de la Melanesie Francaise.  II Expedition Francaise sur les recifs coralliens de la Nouvelle-Caledonie. Paris: Singer-Polignac.
  • Dai, C. F., Fan, T. Y., & Yu, J. K. (2000). Reproductive isolation and genetic differentiation of a scleractinian coral Mycedium elephantotus. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 201, 179-187.
  • Davie, P. J., & Phillips, J. A. (2009). 13th International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay, Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 54(2), 1-118.
  • Schlichter, D., & Brendelberger, H. (1998). Plasticity of the scleractinian body plan: Functional morphology and trophic specialization of Mycedium elephantotus (Pallas, 1766). Facies, 39, 227-241.
  • 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.
  • Yu, J. K., Wang, H. Y., Lee, S. C., & Dai, C. F. (1999). Genetic structure of a scleractinian coral, Mycedium elephantotus, in Taiwan. Marine Biology, 133(1), 21-28.

Suggested Reading – Identification Tools