Purpose of NatureScouter

This blog will address mainly two issues - Nature and Scouting.

The purpose of Nature blogs is to educate and promote the awareness of Singapore’s and global environmental and conservation issues to the public and the Scouting community. The Scouting-related blogs serve the similar purpose by promoting the World’s largest youth movement and its activities to the public.

This blog was created thanks to the persistent demands of all my dear friends to blog, and on my 25th birthday, this blog was born.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Coral Workshop Field Trip Part II - Coral ID

Identification of corals ain't that easy... Like I've mentioned before, I generally just walk past a coral and think, "Hmm... that's a hard coral.", "That's a soft coral." or "That's a boulder/brain coral." That is how limited my knowledge is.

After attending the coral workshop some time back, I was a little better equipped, but still not prepared for the field. I could only identify some of the more distinctive and common ones.

So here goes my personal mini guide to coral ID. Listed are those that can be found in Sinapore as indicated by Jani. Please correct me if any of the ID is wrong and I'll make the amendments asap.

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Scleractinia (Hard/Stony Corals)

World: 18 families, ~110 genera
Singapore: ~55 genera, ~200 species

Family: Acroporidae
Genus: Acropora
Key Characteristics: Axial corallites
Growth Form(s): Branching, Tabular
Acropora digitifera
Acropora digitifera

Family: Acroporidae
Genus: Montipora
Key Characteristics: Empty corallites (deep), very small corallites, granulated/spiny coenosteum
Growth Form(s): Encrusting, Foliose, Branching
Montipora hispida_closeup
Montipora hispida

Family: Acroporidae
Genus: Astreopora
Key Characteristics: Conical corallite
Growth Form(s): Massive
Astreopora gracilis
Astreopora gracilis

Family: Agariciidae
Genus: Pavona
Key Characteristics: small, shallow corallites, poorly defined walls, inter-connected by septo-costae.
Growth Form(s): Foliose, Encrusting, Branching

Family: Agariciidae
Genus: Pachyseris
Key Characteristics: Series of concentric ridges parallel with the margin
Growth Form(s): Foliose, Encrusting

Family: Dendrophylliidae
Genus: Turbinaria
Key Characteristics: Most corallites at perimeter, remaining are widely spaced
Growth Form(s): Foliose
Turbinaria bifrons2
Turbinaria bifrons

Family: Euphyllidae
Genus: Euphyllia
Key Characteristics: Anchor-shaped/finger-like bubbled tentacles
Growth Form(s): Branching, Phaceloid/Flabellate
Euphyllia ancora or glabrescens
Euphyllia ancora

Family: Euphyllidae
Genus: Plerogyra
Key Characteristics: Bubbled tentacles
Growth Form(s): Branching, Phaceloid/Flabellate

Family: Faviidae (Largest family)
Key Characteristics: Large corallites, brain coral look.
Growth Form(s): Massive
Favites sp.
Montastrea sp.
Oulastrea sp.
Oulophyllia sp.
Oulophyllia crispa1
Oulophyllia crispa
Platygyra sp.

Family: Fungiidae
Genus: Fungia
Key Characteristics: Circular corallite, single mouth
Growth Form(s): Free-living
Fungia (Ctenactis) simplex
Fungia (Ctenactis) simplex

Family: Fungiidae
Genus: Heliofungia
Key Characteristics: Long tentacles with pale tips when extended, serrated septa
Growth Form(s): Free-living
Heliofungia actiniformis2
Heliofungia actiniformis

Family: Fungiidae
Genus: Herpolitha
Key Characteristics: Elongate axial furrows with several mouths
Growth Form(s): Free-living
Herpolitha limax
Herpolitha limax

Family: Fungiidae
Genus: Podabacia
Key Characteristics: Laminar and unifacial, corallites tend to face perimeter
Growth Form(s): Foliose, Encrusting

Family: Merulinidae
Genus: Merulina
Key Characteristics: Laminar, septa looks like railway tracks
Growth Form(s): Foliose, Encrusting

Family: Mussidae
Genus: Lobophyllia
Key Characteristics: Large corallites, one or several mouths are joined, long septal teeth.
Growth Form(s): Massive, Submassive

Family: Mussidae
Genus: Symphyllia
Key Characteristics: Large corallites, one or several mouths are joined, groove on top of wall
Growth Form(s): Massive, Submassive
Symphyllia valenciennesii
Symphyllia valenciennesii

Family: Oculinidae
Genus: Galaxea
Key Characteristics: Cylindrical corallites, septa very exert
Growth Form(s): Submassive
Galaxea astreata1
Galaxea astreata

Family: Pectiniidae
Genus: Pectinia
Key Characteristics: Laminar, septo-costae forms thin, high irregular walls in short valleys
Growth Form(s): Foliose
Pectinia sp.

Family: Poritidae
Genus: Porites
Key Characteristics: Small & immersed corallites filled with septa
Growth Form(s): Massive, Branching
Montipora venosa2
Porites sp.

Family: Poritidae
Genus: Goniopora
Key Characteristics: Long polyps, polyp has 24 tentacles
Growth Form(s): Massive, Submassive
Goniopora sp.

Family: Poritidae
Genus: Alveopora
Key Characteristics: Long polyps, polyp has 12 tentacles
Growth Form(s): Massive, Submassive

Family: Pocilloporidae
Genus: Pocillopora
Key Characteristics: Immersed corallites, presence of wart-like verrucae, fuzzy look
Growth Form(s): Branching
Pocillopora sp.

Family: Siderastreidae
Genus: Psammocora
Key Characteristics: Small corallites, septo-costae form petaloid shapes
Growth Form(s): Massive, Submassive

Family: Trachyphylliidae
Genus: Trachyphyllia
Key Characteristics: Absence of septa teeth, cabbage-like look (wavy)
Growth Form(s): Foliose
Trachyphyllia geoffroyi
Trachyphyllia geoffroyi


juanicths said...

gd job!! think most of them are correct. though the montastrea sp. could possibly be a favia sp. also... they are basically similar except for the type of tentacular budding

Fried Tempeh said...

Hi Sijie,

EXCELLENT JOB!! Great photos! And great presentation for the ID list! Really really nicely done! Just a few comments on the ID though:

1. Oulophyllia
I don't think this is a photo of Oulophyllia (OUL)...the valleys and ridges for OUL tend to be much wider. Though I can't really tell from this photo as there is no scale. This sort of looks like a Platygyra OR a Goniastrea to me.

2. Montastrea
Juanhui is right, I can't really tell whether this is Montastrea or Favia from the photo. Would need to see more of the budding pattern...

Also, next time, it'll be best to take photos with scales! (i.e. a ruler scale...not a fish scale hur hur hur). That way, will be able to estimate the colony and corallite size which will help with the ID!

GREAT JOB! Hope now u will keep learning about corals!


SJ said...

Heya, points noted. I also had problems identifying them - took me two days to ID them.
Need to get a better camera coz my camera's not good enough and macro is not good either. Need a scale too. Haha... maybe will grab a flexible plastic lab rule next time.
Thanks alot for the effort put in for conducting the workshop together with Luan Keng. Learnt alot indeed. Now everytime I bypass coral specimens in the museum, I can't help to attempt to ID them. Hahaha...

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