Mushroom corals

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Mushroom corals
Muchroom coral.JPG

Mushroom corals ( Fungiidae )

Trunk : Cnidarians (Cnidaria)
Class : Flower animals (anthozoa)
Subclass : Hexacorallia
Order : Hard corals (Scleractinia)
Family : Mushroom corals
Scientific name
Dana , 1846

Fungi corals (Fungiidae) are stony corals that are not like the other species firmly grown animals living in colonies, but rather large individual polyps. They live sessile on a small stalk only in their youth . The polyp of the mushroom coral is called Anthocaulus at this stage. The stalk breaks off after a while and the single polyp lives freely in shallow water, on a sandy bottom.

Since they can easily be turned around, covered by sand or damaged by waves, currents or animals in this unusual habitat for corals, they have a high regenerative capacity and can free themselves from sand. If the polyp is broken, a new polyp can grow from any part. The corals can also multiply by forming daughter polyps on their side and pinching them off ( anthocauli formation ).

Fungia scutaria on sandy soil

Like most other hard corals, all Fungiidae, with the exception of Fungiacyathus , which lives at greater depths, live in a symbiotic relationship with small algae ( zooxanthellae ), which supply the fungal corals with nutrients. You are therefore dependent on bright locations.

Most of the 25 species in the genus Fungia reach the size of a small plate. Cycloseris is only four centimeters in diameter, while the elongated Herpolitha can become half a meter long.

Fungal corals can also be cultivated in well-maintained saltwater aquariums . You need larger sand areas here.

Some species change sex during their ontogeny. Fungia repanda is male first when young and later becomes female ( protandry ). With Ctenactis echinata this process can be reversed again.


Herpolitha limax
Sandolitha robusta


  • Julian Sprung: Korallen , Dähne Verlag, 2000, ISBN 3-921684-87-0 .
  • Svein A. Fossa / Alf Jacob Nilsen: Coral reef aquarium , Volume 4, Schmettkamp Verlag, 1995, ISBN 3-928819-05-4 .
  • Hans A. Baensch / Robert A. Patzner: Mergus Sea Water Atlas Volumes 2, 4 + 5, Mergus-Verlag, Melle.

Individual evidence

  1. Yossi Loya and Kazuhiko Sakai: Bidirectional sex change in mushroom stony corals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 275: 2335-2343, London 2008. doi : 10.1098 / rspb.2008.0675

Web links

Commons : Mushroom Corals  - Collection of images, videos and audio files