Wednesday, September 20, 2017


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Pectinia (Pectinidae)

Welcome to the Pectinia 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 Pectinia, 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: Oulophyllia or Symphyllia.

Vital Statistics

  • 9 species
  • Coral Finder p. 5c, 9, 9c, 20
  • COTW – Vol 2 p. 348-361


Found in the Indo-Pacific.

ID Tips

Pectinia forms plating colonies with wide meandering valleys.  The ridges between the valleys may be thin and high.  In some instances where the ridges are very tall, have regular discontinuities, and the valleys are as wide as they are long, the colony may resemble a plate with upward growths of tangled spires.  Generally Pectinia prefers turbid waters, but it may be found in a range of reef zones.

The corallites have weak or absent walls, and are indistinct, making them difficult to see underwater.  The septocostae are however thick, smooth and widely spaced, and therefore may be distinguished underwater.

(slide show with photos of different heights of walls.)

Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Pectinia in two key groups with Oulophyllia and Symphyllia being possible candidates for confusion.

Similar genera to meandering Pectinia (Coral Finder p9)

Meandering forms of Pectinia can be confused with Oulophyllia and Symphyllia but they are separated by the thin, more discontinuous walls typical of Pectinia. Oulophyllia has thicker walls with more regular, closer spaced septa than Pectinia, whereas Symphyllia has toothed, spiky septa and a clear groove running along the top of the ridges.

Meandering Pectinia

Similar genus: Oulophyllia

Similar genus: Symphyllia


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.
  • Humes, A. G. (1991). Mandobius regalis gen et sp nov. (Copepoda, Poecilostomatoida, Lichomolgidae) associated with the coral Pectinia lactuca in New Caledonia. Zoologica Scripta, 20(3), 277-282.
  • 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.

Suggested Reading – Other Topics