Saturday, August 19, 2017


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Seriatopora (Pocilloporidae)

Welcome to the Seriatopora 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 sub-rounded branching Seriatopora, 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: Stylophora.

Vital Statistics

  • 6 species
  • Coral Finder p. 2
  • COTW – Vol 2 p.46-55


Widespread in the Indo-Pacific.

ID Tips

Seriatopora forms fine branching colonies; the branch tips are pointed to sub-rounded, giving a delicate appearance. Colonies are generally found in shallow or protected areas, and some species are common.

The corallites are small and immersed, are regularly arranged in straight lines up the colony branches, and have a sharp central spike-like style.  This corallite pattern is highly distinctive and visible underwater.

The immersed corallites are characteristic of the Pocilloporidae family.

(slide show with photos of corallites in straight lines)

Similar Genera

The Coral Finder lists Seriatopora in one key group with Stylophora being a potential candidate for confusion.

Similar genera to sub-rounded branching forms of Seriatopora (Coral Finder p2)

Seriatopora with sub-rounded branches may be confused with Stylophora but they are easily separated by the straight-line arrangement of corallites characteristic of Seriatopora. Stylophora has an irregular arrangement of corallites, which are ‘hooded’, and the branches tend to be thicker and blunter.

Sub-rounded branching Seriatopora

Similar genus: Stylophora


Taxonomic Changes

Recent study of the genetic make-up of different Seriatopora species shows discrepancies between the genotypic characteristics and existing taxonomic classification based on morphology.  Further work is clearly needed in this area, but for up to date information check out Flot et al., (2008) listed in the suggested readings section.

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Pocilloporidae family page


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Chen, C., Dai, C. F., Plathong, S., Chiou, C. Y., & Chen, C. A. (2008). The complete mitochondrial genomes of needle corals, Seriatopora spp. (Scleractinia : Pocilloporidae): An idiosyncratic atp8, duplicated trnW gene, and hypervariable regions used to determine species phylogenies and recently diverged populations. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 46(1), 19-33.
  • 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.
  • Flot, J. F., Licuanan, W. Y., Nakano, Y., Payri, C., Cruaud, C., & Tillier, S. (2008). Mitochondrial sequences of Seriatopora corals show little agreement with morphology and reveal the duplication of a tRNA gene near the control region. Coral Reefs, 27(4), 789-794.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Glynn, P. W., Gassman, N. J., Eakin, C. M., Cortes, J., Smith, D. B., & Guzman, H. M. (1991). Reef coral reproduction in the eastern Pacific: Costa Rica, Panama and Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) .1. Pocilloporidae. Marine Biology, 109(3), 355-368.
  • Maier, E., Tollrian, R., & Nurnberger, B. (2009). Fine-scale analysis of genetic structure in the brooding coral Seriatopora hystrix from the Red Sea. Coral Reefs, 28(3), 751-756.
  • Maier, E., Tollrian, R., Rinkevich, B., & Nurnberger, B. (2005). Isolation by distance in the scleractinian coral Seriatopora hystrix from the Red Sea. Marine Biology, 147(5), 1109-1120.
  • Sherman, C. D. H. (2008). Mating system variation in the hermaphroditic brooding coral, Seriatopora hystrix. Heredity, 100(3), 296-303.