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Oulophyllia (Faviidae)

Welcome to the Oulophyllia 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 about a meandering massive Oulophyllia, 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: Pectinia, Platygyra, or Symphyllia.

Vital Statistics

  • 3 species
  • Coral Finder p. 9
  • COTW – Vol 3 p.195-201


Found throughout in the Indo-Pacific.


Oulophyllia forms massive colonies and may be found in a wide range of reef environments, although generally they are uncommon. Small colonies can be encrusting.

Typically corallites form sub-meandroid to meandering valleys, containing one or multiple obvious mouths. In one species, Oulophyllia bennettae, the valleys can be so short as to almost appear cerioid and Favites-like. The valleys are wide (around 10mm) and the walls are narrower at the top than the base.  The septa are clear and regularly arranged.

Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Oulophyllia in one key group with Pectinia, Platygyra and to a lesser degree Symphyllia, being candidates for confusion.

Similar genera to meandering massive forms of Oulophyllia (Coral Finder p9)

Long valley meandering forms of Oulophyllia crispa and O. levis can be confused with Pectinia lactuca. O. crispa / levis can be recognised by having shallower valleys with walls that are thicker at the base and thinner at the top. Pectinia lactuca has steep, narrow walls of consistent thickness and fewer, more obscure corallite mouths / centres.

To separate Oulophyllia from Platygyra it is important to gauge the scale of the walls and valleys.  The valleys of Oulophyllia are distinctly wider than those of Platygyra, and may contain paliform lobes, which are absent in Platygyra.

Further issues may arise when trying to differentiate between Oulophyllia and Symphyllia.  However, the thick, relatively smooth septa of Oulophyllia are very different from the ragged, toothy septa that may be felt through the fleshy mantle of Symphyllia

Massive Oulophyllia

Similar genus: Pectinia

Similar genus: Platygyra

Similar genus: Symphyllia


Taxonomic Changes

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Faviidae family page


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • 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.
  • Huang, D. W., Meier, R., Todd, P. A., & Chou, L. M. (2009). More evidence for pervasive paraphyly in scleractinian corals: Systematic study of Southeast Asian Faviidae (Cnidaria; Scleractinia) based on molecular and morphological data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 50(1), 102-116.
  • 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., & Wijsman-Best, M. (1977). Scleractinia of Eastern Australia.  Part 2, Families Faviidae, Trachyphyllidae. Australian Institute of Marine Science Monograph Series, III, 233.
  • Wijsman-Best, M. (1972). Systematics and ecology of New Caldedonian Faviidae (Coelenterata Scleractinia). Bijdragen Dierkunde, 42, 1-90.
  • Wijsman-Best, M. (1976). Biological results of the Snellius Expedition.  XXVII Faviidae collected by the Snellius Expedition.  II The genera Favites, Goniastrea, Platygyra, Oulophyllia, Leptoria, Hydnophora, and Caulastrea. Zoologische Mededelingen, 50, 45-63.

Suggested Reading – Other Topics

  • Chen, C. L. A. (1999). Analysis of scleractinian distribution in Taiwan indicating a pattern congruent with sea surface temperatures and currents: Examples from Acropora and Faviidae corals. Zoological Studies, 38(2), 119-129.