Thursday, August 24, 2017


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Scolymia (Mussidae)

Welcome to the Scolymia 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: Lobophyllia.

Vital Statistics

  • 3 species
  • Coral Finder p. 26
  • COTW – Vol 3 p.66-71


Found in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific.

ID Tips

Scolymia are attached and generally solitary, although occasionally there may be more than one mouth within a corallite, or a number of corallites.  They inhabit a range of environments, but are uncommon, with the exception of some subtropical regions.

The corallites are fleshy and look beaded where the coarse blunt toothed septa push up through the tissue.

The thick fleshy mantle and spiky septa are common to all members of the Mussidae.

Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Scolymia in one key group with Lobophyllia being a possible candidate for confusion.

Similar genera to Scolymia (Coral Finder p26)

Scolymia can be confused with small Lobophyllia but they can be separated by looking at the septa projecting through the fleshy tissue; the septal teeth of Scolymia are blunt producing a beaded look on the surface of the coral, whereas those of Lobophyllia are sharp and spiky.  This difference can be felt through the tissue.


Similar genus: Lobophyllia


Taxonomic Changes

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Mussidae family page


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Budd, A. F., & Stolarski, J. (2009). Searching for new morphological characters in the systematics of scleractinian reef corals: comparison of septal teeth and granules between Atlantic and Pacific Mussidae. Acta Zoologica, 90(2), 142-165.
  • 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.
  • 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. (1971). Note on the scleractinian corals Scolymia lacera and S. cubensis in Jamaica. Bulletin of Marine Science, 21, 960-963.

Suggested Reading – Other Topics