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Stylophora (Pocilloporidae)

Welcome to the Stylophora 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 rounded branching Stylophora, use the image browser below to identify what you saw underwater. Then choose one of the following links for further comparison with similar genus: Seriatopora.

Vital Statistics

  • 7 species
  • Coral Finder p. 2
  • COTW – Vol 2 p.56-65


Widespread in the Indo-Pacific.

ID Tips

Stylophora forms thick branching colonies, with blunt or flattened tips.  In some instances the colony may develop into thick meanders.  Stylophora are commonly found in a range of environments, and colony shape can vary widely with changing environmental conditions.

The corallites are small and immersed lower down the branches, but become hooded towards the tips.  These hoods are thin hooks of skeleton that curve up over the corallites.

The immersed corallites are characteristic of the Pocilloporidae family.

(slide show with photos of hooded corallites)

Similar Genera

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

Similar genera to rounded branching forms of Stylophora (Coral Finder p2)

Stylophora with rounded branches may be confused with sub-rounded branching Seriatopora, but they are easily separated by the hooded corallites and coarser branches characteristic of Stylophora. Seriatopora has corallites arranged in lines, and the branches tend to be thinner and more pointed.

Rounded branching Stylophora

Similar genus: Seriatopora


Taxonomic Changes

Learning Resources

Coral Hub

  • Pocilloporidae family page


Suggested Reading – Identification Tools

  • Chen, C. H., Chiou, C. Y., Dai, C. F., & Chen, C. A. (2008). Unique mitogenomic features in the scleractinian family Pocilloporidae (Scleractinia : Astrocoeniina). Marine Biotechnology, 10(5), 538-553.
  • Dai, C. F. (1989). Scleractinia of Taiwan.  I Families Astrocoeniidae and Pocilloporidae. Acta Oceanographica Taiwanica, 22, 83-101.
  • 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.
  • Scheer, G., & Pillai, C. S. G. (1974). Report on the Scleractinia from the Nicobar Islands. Stuttgart: Zoologica.
  • 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

  • Alamaru, A., Yam, R., Shemesh, A., & Loya, Y. (2009). Trophic biology of Stylophora pistillata larvae: evidence from stable isotope analysis. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 383, 85-94.
  • Bhagooli, R., & Hidaka, M. (2004). Photoinhibition, bleaching susceptibility and mortality in two scleractinian corals, Platygyra ryukyuensis and Stylophora pistillata, in response to thermal and light stresses. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology a-Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 137(3), 547-555.
  • Cheng, Y. R., & Dai, C. F. (2009). The infection process of the reef coral Stylophora pistillata by the parasitic copepod, Xarifia obesa. Coral Reefs, 28(3), 681-681.
  • Einbinder, S., Mass, T., Brokovich, E., Dubinsky, Z., Erez, J., & Tchernov, D. (2009). Changes in morphology and diet of the coral Stylophora pistillata along a depth gradient. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 381, 167-174.
  • 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.
  • Lampert-Karako, S., Stambler, N., Katcoff, D. J., Achituv, Y., Dubinsky, Z., & Simon-Blecher, N. (2008). Effects of depth and eutrophication on the zooxanthella clades of Stylophora pistillata from the Gulf of Eilat (Red Sea). Aquatic Conservation-Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 18(6), 1039-1045.
  • Putnam, H. M., Edmunds, P. J., & Fan, T. Y. (2008). Effect of Temperature on the Settlement Choice and Photophysiology of Larvae From the Reef Coral Stylophora pistillata. Biological Bulletin, 215(2), 135-142.
  • Shaish, L., Abelson, A., & Rinkevich, B. (2006). Branch to colony trajectory in a modular organism: Pattern formation in the indo-pacific coral Stylophora pistillata. Developmental Dynamics, 235(8), 2111-2121.