Saturday, August 19, 2017


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Palauastrea (Astrocoeniidae)

Welcome to the Palauastrea 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: Anacropora.

Vital Statistics

  • 1 species
  • Coral Finder p. 2c, 3
  • COTW – Vol 1 p.10-11


Uncommon in the Indo-Pacific, but may be locally abundant.

ID Tips

Palauastrea form branching colonies which grow on shallow reef slopes.  Towards the southern end of its range, around Australia, colonies tend to be limited to turbid, soft-bottom communities.

The branches come to blunt finger-like tips that do not taper along their length.  The corallites are small but distinctive as they contain a wagon wheel-like central spike.  Unlike most other scleractinians, tentacles may be extended during daylight hours, masking corallite features.

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Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Palauastrea in one key group, with Anacropora being a possible candidate for confusion.

Similar genera to Palauastrea (Coral Finder p3)

Palauastrea can be confused with Anacropora but they are easily separated by the wagon wheel-like spike found in the centre of each Palauastrea corallite.  Anacropora lacks this central spike.

Branching Palauastrea

Similar genus: Anacropora


Taxonomic Changes

Originally this genus was associated with the Pocilloporidae, it is now considered to be a member of the Astrocoeniidae family.

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Astrocoeniidae family page


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Dai, C. F. (1989). Scleractinia of Taiwan.  I Families Astrocoeniidae and Pocilloporidae. Acta Oceanographica Taiwanica, 22, 83-101.
  • 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.
  • Veron, J. E. N., & Pichon, M. (1976). Scleractinia of Eastern Australia.  Part 1, Families Thamnasteriidae, Astrocoeniidae, Pocilloporidae. Australian Institute of Marine Science Monograph Series, 1, 1-86.

Suggested Reading – Other Topics