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Family Faviidae: (L. favus, honeycomb).... relating to the regular appearance of the corallites.
The Faviidae contains more genera than any other scleractin-ian family and is second only to the Acroporidae in number of extant species, as well as overall abundance throughout the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. With few exceptions the genera are well-defined and widely distributed. Two genera (Favia and Montastrea) are common to both the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic; two (Astreosmilia and Eryihrastrea) are restricted to the western Indian Ocean.
Because of their solid construction and wide geographic distribution, most faviid genera are readily preserved as fossils and have a good fossil record. The Faviidae is the only family to have been a dominant reef-builder in both the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. It fared better than any other family in the Cretaceous/Tertiary extinctions.
Most species are also widely distributed, both longitudinally and latitudinally. They usually exhibit less inter-regional variation within the central GBR than other major groups of corals and this, combined with the rarity of endemic species, gives a relatively uniform IndoŚwest Pacific fauna. Some species of faviids are restricted to inter-tidal habitats and upper reef slopes, but most occur over a wide range of environments. These species have similar, correspondingly wide, range of skeletal variation. Coralla from high energy environments exposed to strong sunlight have heavily calcified skeletal structures and corallites. Those from deep or turbid water, with poorly illuminated environments, are always lightly calcified and have relatively small corallites separated by a blistery coenosteum. This similarity in response to environmental gradients frequently results in coralla of different species from the same environment looking superficially more alike than coralla of the same species from very different environments.
Intra-specific geographic variation is very great between high-latitude and tropical locations of the same region. Coralla from high-latitude regions are usually heavily calcified. Coralla from different tropical regions frequently show minimal geographic variation. Many species show major variation in the relative abundance in the tropics.
    
Hypothetical taxonomic affinities between the genera of the Faviidae. The diameter of the circles is proportional to the number of species.
 
With only one exception (Symphyllia) does this family include all the "brain coral"-like genera. Taxonomic identification of most faviid genera is relatively straightforward. All species are zooxanthellate and colonial with large corallites with sturdy walls. Septa, paliform lobes, columellae and wall structures (when present), all appear to be structurally similar. Septal structures are simple, columellae are a simple tangle of elongate septal teeth with thickened septal walls composed of cross linkages.
The structure of septa, paliform lobes, columellae and wall structures (when present) appear to be structurally similar. Septal structures are simple, columellae are a simple tangle of elongated septal dentated teeth that do not spread into the coenosteum (peritheca - far less conspicous than in Mussidae) with somewhat thickened septal walls.
However, according to Veron (1986), Favia, Barabattoia, Favites, and Montastrea may be confused. A number of genera (e.g. Platygyra, Oulophyllia, Leptoria, and Goniastrea australiensis) have a characteristic brain-like corallum morphology, easily recognizable on the reef. Of the meandroid species, Leptoria has the narrowest valleys (2-3mm) between the relatively regular meandering ridges, while Oulophyllia has the widest valleys (10-12mm), with meanders being short and irregular. The mouth of these species are located at the base of the valleys. Platygyra has the longest continous meanders, and septa that are very rounded, compared to the ragged edges and equal-size septa of Oulophyllia and Leptoria, respectively. The two most difficult faviid species to separate underwater are Goniastrea australiensis and Platygyra lamellina. In comparison to P.lamellina, G.australiensis has steeper and deeper valleys as well as corallites with well-developed columella and paliform lobes (Wood 1983).

This family comprises one of the most successful groups of scleractinians (24 genera, i.e. Faviids that exhibit extratentacular budding: Montastrea, Plesiastrea, Oulastrea, Parasimplastrea1, Diploastrea, Leptastrea, Cyphastrea, Solenastrea2, and Moseleya;
Faviids exhibiting intratentacular budding: Caulastrea, Erythrastrea1, Cladocera2, Manicina2, Favia, Barabattoia, Favites, Goniastrea, Platygyra, Australogyra, Oulophyllia, Leptoria, Diploria2, Colpophyllia2, and Echinopora,);
Annotation: 1 two genera of the Arabic gulf region, 2while five genera are only found in the Atlantic (Wood 1983).
With regards to geographic distribution and diversity and in terms of species numbers Faviids are only surpassed by the Acroporids in overall abundance. Faviids display a wide habitat distribution (i.e. from intertidal to a depth of 90m), they are one of the most important components of PNG reefs. Two genera found throughout the Indo-Pacific region, Favia and Montastrea, also occur in the Atlantic, where M.annularis (along with Acropora palmata) is a dominant reef-builder.

 


Faviids exhibiting extratentacular budding (130kB)


Faviids exhibiting intratentacular budding (120kB)

The majority of faviids, however, are massive or heavily encrusting plocoid or cerioid colonies. Environmentally stressful habitats favor the broad distribution range of massive growth forms with Goniastrea attaining their largest size. The variety of corallum morphologies is a result of different colony growth, which can be either through intratentacular or extratentacular budding. Corallum morphology is thus one of the main diagnostic features separating the various genera. For example, Favia exhibits mainly plocoid morphology, while Favites is distinctly cerioid in character.
Nonetheless, Faviids are taxonomically a difficult group, and a number of genera show affinities with considerable overlap in terms of corallum morphology. Phaeotypic plasticity in this group of scleractinians is to a large extent related to environmental factors. Different Faviid species from the same locality can be very similar in terms of their corallite morphologies. For example, Favia pallida, F.matthai, and F.rotumana collected from exposed shallow-water habitats showed amazing morphological resemblance in their corallite structure. Similar plasticity occurs in Favites, which is mainly cerioid, but some species (e.g. Favites complanata and Favia rotundata) often exhibit ploco-cerioid morphology.

Favites is similar to Goniastrea, but the cerioid corallites in Favites do not form meanders. In many shallow-water subtidal habitats, especially along the seaward edge of the reef flats, Favia rotundata exhibits cerioid morphology (Veron 1986). Thus, corallum morphologies in the family Faviidae are closely associated with environmental conditions of a particular habitat or biotope, and a single species may be represented in different habitats (e.g. fore-reef vs. back-reef) by a number of different "ecotypes".
The three genera that are clearly distinct in terms of their corallum morphology, are the phaceloid Caulastrea (the only phaceloid faviid in the Indo-Pacific region), the lamellar or ramose branching Echinopora, and the branching Hydnophora -
see table.

 


Corallite arrangement (65kB)

Some species of Goniastrea, such as G.retiformis, G.palauensis, and G.aspera, exhibit distinct cerioid morpology, while other species, such as G.australiensis, are ceroid to meandroid, and G.favulus and G.pectinata are submendroid.
All Goniastrea species form massive colonies and are dominant corals on many intertidal reef flats. G.aspera, in particular, forms large microatolls on intertidal reef flats and large rounded colonies in subtidal habitats. The presence of large Goniastrea and Heliopora coerulea microatolls (up to 5m in diameter and 1m in height) are characteristic of reef flat areas, even though the reef flat has been colonized by mangrooves. In addition to Goniastrea, other abbundant faviids in the magroove were Favia maxima and F.favus. However, these colonies usually are less than half a meter in diameter. In terms of sheer numbers, the most abundant coral species throughout mangrooves are the fungiid Heliofungia actiniformis which occured in association with the pipefish Siokunichthys nigrolineatus.
One of the most distinct Faviids is the cerioid Diploastrea heliopora, which can grow to a large size (>5m in diameter) and can rival even some massive Porites spp. In contrast to massive Porites species, D.heliopora has a very dense skeleton, which makes the large corallum almost indestructible. Therefore, its rugged nature makes it the most resistant species against earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In the case of damage, many D.heliopora colonies recover by a process that proceeds from the bottom up. The hard skeleton probably makes it even less susceptible to skeleton boring sponges or other endofauna as well as epiphytic flora and epizoic fauna.
The vast majority of faviids are hermaphroditic broadcast-spawners, showing similar sexual patterns as the acropoids. Only a few species are gonochoric. Planula brooding occurs in two Indo-Pacific species (i.e. Cyphastrea ocellina and Goniastrea aspera) and three Atlantic species (i.e. Favia fragum, Manicina areolata, and Diploria labyrinthiformis. Note that Goniastrea aspera was reported to be both a broadcast-spawner (GBR) as well as exhibiting a brooding mode of reproduction releasing planulae during the new moon (Samama Island). It has been demonstrated that the newly released planulae of most faviids settle in the vicinity of parent colonies.

Key to the family Faviidae Colonies phaceloid Corallites small (<5mm diameter): Genus Cladocora
Corallites not small (>5mm diameter): Genus Caulastrea
Colonies flabello-meandroid: Genus Erythrastrea
Colonies massive or derived from massive Budding intratentacular or meandroid Colonies plocoid Coraliites not exsert: Genus Favia
Corallites exsert: Genus Barabattoia
Colonies cerioid to secondarily meandroid Paliform lobes present Paliform lobes not prominent: Genus Favites
Paliform lobes prominent Valleys <10mm across Genus Goniastrea
Valleys >10mm across Ambulacral groove present Colonies large: Genus Colpophyllia
Colonies small: Genus Manicina
Ambulacral groove absent: Genus Oulophyllia
Paliform lobes absent or weakly developed Paliform lobes spongy Ambulacral groove absent: Genus Platygyra
Ambulacral groove present: Genus Diploria
Paliform lobes wall-like: Genus Leptoria
Colonies branching: Genus Australogyra
Budding extratentacular Corallites small (<4mm diameter) Corallites crowded: Genus Cyphastrea
Corallites not crowded: Genus Plesiastrea
Corallites middle-sized (>4mm, <15mm diameter) Corallites plocoid Colonies submassive Septa strongly alternate: Genus Oulastrea
Septa do not alternate: Genus Montrastrea
Colonies massive to columnar: Genus Solenastrea
Corallites cerioid: Genus Leptastrea
Corallites subplocoid: Genus Parasimplastrea
Corallites large, conspicuous (>15mm diameter) Corallites cerioid: Genus Moseleya
Corallites plocoid: Genus Diploastrea
Colonies explanate to branching: Genus Echinopora
Genera exhibiting predominantly extratentacular budding (Indo-Pacific region):-----------------------------------

Plesiastrea (Gk. plesios, recent; Gk. aster, star):

Massiv, rounded, or flattened colonies that may be encrusting. Brown or green in color. Corallites are rounded and separate from each other (appearance similar to Montastrea but corallites are smaller and septa do not drop deep into the corallite). Margins of both septa and costae are finely dentate. The coral surface between the costae (peritheca) is smooth or granulated. The largest septa of 1st order reach the columella and have well developed paliform lobes (crown). P.versipora is the only tropical species to occur along the full southern coast of Australia, where it forms a distinct geographic subspecies (formerly considered a separate species, P.urvillei).
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to far eastern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: sometimes common.
FOSSIL RECORD: Miocene of the Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 2 known species.
Oulastrea (Gk. oulos, curly; Gk. aster, star): O.crispata as the only member occurs in the Sea of Japan where water temperatures go to near freezing. It reportedly still has zooxanthellae in these conditions. It forms small rounded colonies, may also be encrusting. Calices are pale brown, the surrounding coenosteum is black. Corallites are separate, between 3-5mm in diameter, and may be irregular or rounded. Septa are clearly visible and radiate from the center to the corallite wall. Septa are numerous and ar-ranged in clycles, costae are prominent. Margins of both sepata and costae are armed with fine spines.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Central Indo-Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: uncommon, occurs in non-reef biotopes.
FOSSIL RECORD: None.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 1 known species.
Diploastrea (Gk. diploos, double; aster, star): D.heliopora as the only member in this group has very little morphological variation, either environment correlated or geographic. It is also conservative in the fossil record, the one common 'chronospecies' being at least Early Miocene in age. Affinities in the Faviidae are obscure: it is as close to Montastrea cavernosa as any other species.
Colonies are very massive or rounded, slightly flattened; they are pale brown with purplish or greenish tints. Corallites are regular in appearance and closely packed. The base of the fossa is about 1cm in diameter and the center of the cone is raised by 2-3mm (dome-shaped). Septa are thickened. The arrangement of septa can be clearly seen; main septa are distinctively thickened and stretch from the columella to the outside of the corallite (fenestrated). The 2nd cycle of septa is thinner and does not reach the columella. The columella is well developed and 3-4mm in diameter.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: generally common, very conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Cretaceous (?), Eocene of the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, Oligocene of the Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 1 known species.
Leptastrea (Gk. leptos, slender; aster, star): Forms encrusting, flat, convex, or rounded, colonies in purple or brown color. Oral disc (fossa) and the corallites margin are different in shades. Fossa is usually green. Corallites are closely packed (ceroid), smaller than in Montastrea, and often display an ambulacral groove. Septa are numerous in 3 cycles (6+6+12). The larger ones may be slightly exsert from the columella onto the walls. Septal margins are finely serrated. Paliform lobes may be present. Columellae with papillae.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: generally common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Oligocene of the Indo-Pacific, Miocene of the Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 7 known species.
Cyphastrea (Gk. kyphos, humped; aster, star): Rounded or knobby colonies; ecrusting, plate-like or even branching in growth. Colonies are brown, pinkish, with shades of green or blue. Coenosteum with spinules (appears blistered). Corallites are always round and small (1-2.5mm in diameter) and each has its own separate walls; corallites are slightly elevated (plocoid) by less than 3mm. Septa are visible within the calices and corallite walls but do not extend onto the perithecal areas. Septa are in cycles, the larger ones reach the columella. Paliform lobes are usually present. Septal margins are finely serrated. C.serailia is by far the most common and widespread species of the genus yet is poorly defined and probably masks other, less common species.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: very common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Oligocene (?), Miocene of the Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 8 known species.
Moseleya (named after H.N. Moseley): M.latistellata as the only member, forms massive, flattened, or convex colonies which are brown or green in color. Corallites have shared walls and are high and prominent; they have a large central calice up to 6cm in diameter, surrounded by several smaller up to 3cm in diameter. Calices are polygonal from 4-6 sided. Septa are prominent and in cycles, with the larger ones reaching the columella. Septal margins are strongly dentate with large dentate paliform lobes.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Central Indo-Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: generally uncommon, very conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: None. A well-defined monospecific genus that shows affinities with both the Faviidae and the Trachyphylliidae.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 1 known species.
Genera exhibiting predominantly extratentacular budding (circum-tropical distribution): -------------------------

Montastrea (L. montis, mountain; Gk. aster, star):

This is a poorly defined genus containing mostly distinctive species within a given region, but over wider geographic ranges within the central Indo-Pacific, it has several species that form distinctive geographic subspecies of doubtful taxonomic affinity. It is the chief frame builder of the Caribbean.
Colonies form solid rounded and massive colonies, with encrusting or plate-like growth. Coralla are usually brown, yellow, or greenish in color. Polyps have a ring of small tentacles. Coenosteum if present is rough (due to costae). Corallites are circular and separated from each others by a slight gap. Corallites are elevated (slightly plocoid) and are about 6-8mm in diameter. Septa are numerous. Margins of both septa and costae are serrated; the latter often meet with neighboring corallites. In some the calices are separated by deep grooves. Paliform lobes are usually formed at the inner ends of the septa.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Cosmopolitan.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: generally common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Late Jurassic (?), Cretaceous of the Tethys, Eocene of the Caribbean.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 12 known species.
Genera exhibiting predominantly extratentacular budding (Atlantic region):-----------------------------------------

Solenastrea (Gk. solen, channel; aster, star):

Forms massive colonies, usually rounded or hemispheral which are brown or greenish in color. Corallites are separated by walls and a narrow gap; they are rounded and 2-3mm in diameter. Corallites are raised by 1mm (plocoid). Coenosteum usually blistered. Septa radiate from calice center onto the wall and do not fuse with the costae or adjacent calices. Septa are in cycles, with the larger ones reaching the columella. Paliform lobes are very weak or absent. Perithecal areas are uneven or blistered. Septal margins are finely serrated. Columella is small and spongy.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: sometimes common, generally inconspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Oligocene of the Caribbean, Miocene of the Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 2 known species.
Genus exhibiting predominantly extratentacular budding (Arabic region): ------------------------------------------

Parasimplastrea (Gk. para, besides; L. simpel, simple):

Colonies re encrusting to submassive. Corallites are 4-6mm in diameter; an ambulacral groove and tubercle formation may be present. Corallites are ceroid to sub-plocoid retaining individual walls. Septa have smooth or slightly serrated margins and are widely spaced.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Oman only.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: rare.
FOSSIL RECORD: Miocene of the Pacific, common in the Pliocene of the central Indo-Pacific. Record of this genus in Oman is one of the two instances where a genus formerly believed extinct has been found alive. However, the systematic position of this species, especially in relation to the faviid species Leptastrea bewickensis, warrants further study.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: (2 known species).
Genera exhibiting prediminantly intratentacular budding (Indo-Pacific Region): -----------------------------------

Caulastrea (L. kaulis, stalk; Gk. aster, star):

Colonies are low-growing and project less than 10cm from the substrate into the water. Occasionally, they form low, rounded heads. Stalked corallites branch freely, and are separate from each other, rising up as nearly parallel branches (phaceloid growth form). Most calices are rounded and up to 1cm (some even 2cm) in diameter. The living mantle (coenosarc) is brown, gray, green or blue in color. A green fossa against the brown is often seen. Septa are numerous and in cycles; the larger ones are slightly exsert, projecting a few mm above the top of the wall. Septal margins are toothed. Costae are continous with the septa and from the top of the wall down the outside of the corallite. Colonies are usually found in sandy areas. C.tumida is most abundant in turbid water and occurs commonly in high-latitude non-reef environments of Japan, while the other species are typically found in clear-water reef environments.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: generally common, very conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Eocene of the Tethys, Oligocene of the Caribbean.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 5 known species.
Barabattoia (?. ?, ?; ?. ?, ?): This is, perhaps, a genus of convenience to accommodate a lew species that appear to have affinities with each other but which are normally outside the boundaries of Favia. Massive colonies are yellowish, white, or purple in color. Species that have far more raised (tubular) than in Favia: i.e.rise about 1cm from the surface (B.amicorum) while those of B.laddi can be even phaceloid. Status of that genus is still doubtfull.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Eastern Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: Sometimes common, readily confused with Favia.
FOSSIL RECORD: None.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 2 known species.
Favites (Gk. favus, honeycomb; -ites, like): As with Favia, there are likely to be more Favites species on most Indo-west Pacific reefs than have so far been studied. The distribution range of Indo-Pacific Favites is similar to that of Favia. Favites is particularly common in higher latitudes, occurring abundantly on the southwest and southeast coasts of Australia and mainland Japan, in all cases well beyond the latitudinal ranges of reefs. Most Favites species are widely and uniformly spread within the central Indo-Pacific, with many minor regional differences in colour, skeletal detail and abundance. Coralla of most species from high latitudes are heavily calcified with thick septa and elongate (Acanthastrea-like) septal dentations. Such coralla are readily distinguished from, but intergrade with, coralla from tropical locations.
Encrusting, but usually forms massive, irregular, hillocks, or rounded colonies that may be flat and plate-like with brown, green, pink, or red in color. Peristome (fossa) contrast in color with the rest of the colony. Corallites are fused, with a common acute wall which is often raised more on one side than the other (contrary to Favia). The walls are highly leafy with the fossa (6-8mm deep). Calices are rounded, oval, angular, polygonal (cerioid), or arranged in short series. Calices are from 5-20mm in diameter (according to species); septa are prominent and numerous that rise steeply or gently from the fossa. Margins of the septa are spiny, dentated and usually visible. Paliforms are absent or poorly developed while the columella is well developed.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: very common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Eocene of the Caribbean, Oligocene of the Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 16 known species.
Goniastrea (Gk. gonia, corner; aster, star): For most speciesin this genus, there are significant differences in colour and/or skeletal detail, between colonies from temperate and tropical central Indo-Pacific locations. Goniastrea species are often the dominant corals of inter-tidal mudflats, rock platforms and some outer reef flats. The genus includes some of the most tolerant of all coral species to aerial exposure, the same set of species occurring in inter-tidal environments throughout much of the lndoŚwest Pacific. Most species are well defined and widely distributed, showing little taxonomically significant geographic variation. Environment-correlated variation may reach extremes in some inter-tidal habitats where, for example, normally cerioid species may develop colonies with meandroid upper surfaces.
Colonies are usually rounded, convex, lobed, or encrusting with brown, green or gray in color. Peristomal walls display a different shade. Corallites are crowded and share a common walls. They are also smaller and neater than those of Favites. Polystomatous can be recognized in the valleys (fossa); valleys are sometimes constricted but deep or shallow. Septa are numerous and visible as fine lines radiating from the fossa, up and over the walls. Septa are finely serrated, paliform lobes are well developed and clearly visible. Lithophaga mussels as endolithic species.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: very common, generally conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Eocene of the Caribbean, Oligocene of the Tethys and Pacific (?).
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 13 known species.
Platygyra (Gk. platys, wide; gyros, round): Forms massive rounded coral heads, sometimes flattened. Colonies are a combination of green, brown, or white colors with valleys and walls of contrasting colors. Colonies have long sinuous U-shaped valleys grouping 2-3 centers (polystomatous fossa); single calices are polygonal with 3-7mm in diameter. The meanders instead are about 3-9mm wide. Septa are rough and closely packed and continuos (13-16 septa/cm). Septa are exsert by several mm with sharp and ragged margins. The columella is well developed. Paliform lobes absent. The species of the Indo-west Pacific all have similar skeletal characters. All show similar skeletal modifications along environmental gradients and some, especially P.daedalea and P.lamellina, may be difficult to distinguish unless they are collected from the same biotope.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: extremely common, conspicuous but may be confused with Goniastrea.
FOSSIL RECORD: Eocene (?) of the Pacific, Oligocene of the Caribbean and Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 11 known species.
Australogyra (L. australis, Australia; Gk. gyros, round): Colonies of the single representative A.zelli have a branching-growth form and may form hemispherical mounds 2m across. Corallites are monocentric or form short valleys. Coral colony green to brown. Corallite walls are thick, rounded and smooth. Columella is absent.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: central Indo-Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: generally common, very conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: none.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 1 known species.
Oulophyllia (Gk. oulos, curly, twisted; phyllon, leaf): Forms massive, convex, or rounded colonies that are pale brown in color sometimes with greenish tinges. Corallites are joined in series just as in Platygyra and Leptoria, but with discontinuous broad and open valleys. Centers of calices are distinct; a small mouth is visible. Distances from mid-ridge to mid-ridge is 1-2cm. Depth of V-shaped valley ranges from 5-10mm. Septa are prominent and rough with 6-12 septa/cm. Septa are slightly exsert; columella is well formed with paliform lobes.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to western Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: sometimes common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Oligocene (?) of the Tethys, Pleistocene of the Pacific.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 3 known species).
Leptoria (Gk. leptos, slender; seris, lettuce): Forms large colonies with several meters in diameters. Outline of brown or greenish colony is irregular and gently undulating rather than rounded. Calices are joined in series to form long, sinuous 2-3mm deep valleys constant in width (yields a regular appearance); similar to Platygyra but valleys are more V-shaped and the surface is more regular. Mid-ridge to mid-ridge distance seldom less 3mm or more 5mm (meandroid morphology). Slightly exsert septa are closely packed (15-20/cm); their margins bear small, fine teeth. Septa are parallel and do not converge to calice centers but joins the meandering columella, which is in the form of a single vertical plate - the upper margin of this plate may be lobed. There are no paliform lobes, and the columella is a broken plate.
RESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: sometimes common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Cretaceous (?), Eocene of the Caribbean and Pacific, Oligocene of the Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 2 known species.
Echinopora (Gk. echinos, hedgehog, prickly; L. porus, pore): Forms foliaceous, or semi-encrusting colonies usually brown or green with yellow or pinkish tinges. Coenosteum with spinules. Corallites are usually distinct and well separated by several mm. They are small, rounded, slightly spiky hillocks and between 2-7mm in diameter (usually 3mm). Corallites have usually a thick wall that is as great as the diameter of the fossa. Septa are slightly exsert, numerous and arranged in cycles (12/24). Margins are coarsely serrated. Costae are dissolved in rows of spinnules. Columella consists of twisted trabeculae. E.mammiformis is one of a number of species that can have two completely dilferent growth forms (in this case, flat plates and thin branches), which have at times been placed in different genera.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to southern Pacific.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: very common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Miocene of the Pacific.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 12 known species.
Genus exhibiting predominantly intratentacular budding (circum-tropical distribution): --------------------------

Favia (L. favus, honeycomb):

The number of species of Favia has been generally understated in the taxonomic literature. It is one of the most widely and uniformly distributed of all coral genera, in both the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic. Individual species are also very widely distributed in the Indo-west Pacific, and a high proportion have distribution limits extending beyond the latitudinal limits of reefs. F.fragum, the principal species of the genus in the Atlantic, is very widespread; it differs substantially from any Indo-Pacific species.
Massive, rounded and encrusting colonies with brown, green, white, or yellow in color. Peristoma (fossa) displays a different color than the rest of the colony. Monocentric corallites with their own walls which are usually separated from neighboring corallites by a groove (although, there are always some corallites visible that are in the process of dividing - intratentacular division). Corallites are closely crowded or with 2-3 centers (fossa) together. Septa are numerous and clearly visible with both septa and costae slightly rough. Perithecal areas shows a fine groove or ridge, where costae from other calices meet. Columella is well formed and sometimes with paliforms lobes present.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Cosmopolitan.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: extremely common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Cretaceous, Eocene of the Caribbean, Tethys and Pacific.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 23 known species.
Genus exhibiting predominantly intratentacular budding (Arabic region): -------------------------------------------

Erythrastrea (Arabic region only Gk. erythros, ?; aster, star):

E.flabellata as the only member shape colonies that are hemispherical, up to 1m across, and display flabello-meandroid growth form. Valleys between corallites are 8-11mm wide, have thin walls, with septa protruding up to 5mm from the corallite surface (ploco-phaceloid) and have coarse teeth. Columella is regularly spaced. Costae are fine. Color onf colony vary from pale cream to green.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Red Sea.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: rare.
FOSSIL RECORD: none.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 1 known species.
Genera exhibiting predominantly intratentacular budding (Atlantic region): ----------------------------------------

Cladocora (incl. Mediterranean - Gk. klados, branch; keras, horn):

Small, low-growing colonies; brown in color. Corallites are raised (slightly phaceloid) from an encrusting base and may divide to a branched colony. Each branch represents a single colony. Corallites are narrow (2-3mm) but elongate (5-8mm). Calices are rounded with visible but rough septa. Septa are in cycles and exsert by about 1mm. Margins of the septa are finely dentated. Columella is deep and well developed.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Western to eastern Atlantic.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: Generally uncommon, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Cretaceous (?), Eocene of the Caribbean and Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 2 known species.
Manicina (Gk. manos, wide, loose; kineo, to move): M.areolata is a spherical to oval shaped colony; either attached, short-stemed or free-living. Calices are united and form a single valley. The main valley runs along the length of the corallum, and branches off to shorter valleys on either side. Valleys are up to 10mm deep and the meanders from mid-ridge to mid-ridge may stretch as far as 10-20mm. Septa run over the walls and into the valleys. There are 11-14 large septa per cm and smaller ones in-between that do not reach the columella. Paliform lobes are very large, have spiny margins, with the septum separated by a notch.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: generally uncommon, conspicuous, often non-reefal.
FOSSIL RECORD: Oligocene of the Caribbean.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 1 known species.
Diploria (Gk. diplon, fold; oros, mountain): According to depth and exposure develops massive, rounded, flattened or encrusting colonies with yellow, brown, green, or gray-brown colors. Valleys contrast in color with the rest of the colony. Polyp mouths are visible. A distinct and broadly widening ambulacral ridge is present on the top of the wall. Septa are clearly visible as parallel lines running over the walls (15-45 septa/cm). Septa are rough, dentated, and slightly exserted. Small paliform lobes may be present. Columella is plate-like and continuos.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Bermuda.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: very common, conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Cretaceous (?), Eocene of the Tethys, Oligocene of the Caribbean.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 3 known species.
Colpophyllia (Gk. colpodes, sinuous; phyllon, leaf): Develops massive, rounded, or flattened colonies with visible mouths that may display white, yellow, brown, or green colors. Valleys are usually wide (mid-ridge to mid-ridge distance about 10-25mm) with gently or steeply sloping walls. An ambulacral groove on top of the wall is present. Septa are exsert by several mm, prominent and widely spaced (9-12/cm) and their margins are rough. Paliforms are wide and separated from the rest of the septum by a notch.
PRESENT DISTRIBUTION: Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
GENERAL ABUNDANCE: very common, very conspicuous.
FOSSIL RECORD: Eocene of the Caribbean and Tethys.
NUMBER OF EXTANT SPECIES: 2 known species.