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Related FAQs: Fungiids, Fungiid Corals 2Fungiid Identification, Fungiid Behavior, Fungiid Compatibility, Fungiid Selection, Fungiid Systems, Fungiid Feeding, Fungiid Disease, Fungiid Reproduction, Stony/True Coral, Coral System Set-Up, Coral System Lighting, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Selection, Coral PlacementFoods/Feeding/Nutrition, Disease/Health, Propagation, Growing Reef CoralsStony Coral Behavior,

Related Articles: Large Polyp Stony CoralsStony or True Corals, Order Scleractinia, Dyed Corals

/The Best Livestock For Your Reef Aquarium:

Plate Corals, Family Fungiidae, Pt. 1

To: Part 2, Pt. 3

By Bob Fenner

Fungiid field, Malaysia

 

Family Fungiidae Dana 1848. The Mushroom Corals could be poster children for LPS (Large Polyped Stony Corals) if they weren't so odd in many ways. These are solitary, non-reef building animals that amongst the true or stony corals are ambulatory... yes, they're capable of movement. All but three genera remain free, unattached from the substrate as adults. 

    Structurally, the Fungiids are unified as being solitary, circular to oblong in shape with septo-costae radiating from their upper surface center, and costae from flattened underneath sides. 

Aquarium Care Note:

    Most Fungiids are found in shallow water (under ten meters in depth) on various types of substrates; rocky, sandy, to silty. Ones with a high relief (dome-shaped), and spines/septa of low relief utilize these aspects of their morphology, expansion of their polyp-bodies, and/or muco-ciliary action. The more flat-profile, un-toothed septa species that are more often offered to the hobby don't have as much latitude at throwing off sediment and should be placed accordingly on softer, low-detritus bottoms out of the way of direct current. 

    Though these mobile scleractinians don't sting each other, other sessile invertebrates must be placed, arranged out of harm's way, including climbing harm's way. Most other corals will suffer given contact with a Fungiid skeleton, polyp or its mucus. At right a sick, mis-placed fungiid... miserable.

    Take care in moving the Plate Corals. They tear easily. Wafting your hand gently near an expanded one will cause it to retreat into its chitinous/calcareous skeleton. Touch it on the bottom/underside and slip it into a water filled bag underwater. 

    Fungiids bear endosymbiotic algae that require strong light, but all benefit from regular feeding as well. Foods may be placed on their upper surfaces or a mash of appropriate size matter can be basted in their direction... with the filter pumps temporarily cycled off. 

     As a general rule all Fungiids with the exception of Heliofungia actiniformis (which IMO should be removed from this family... taxonomically) are pretty sturdy aquarium species... given initial good health, suitable, established homes... Helio/Long tentacle plate corals rarely fare well for any length of time... especially if not placed on soft/fine sand substrates.

Reproduction:  Reproduction can be sexual but is often encountered in the form of asexually produced daughter colonies, called anthocauli. These asexual bits grow and break off a parent, making their lives on the bottom separately. Fragmentation is another way Fungiids may be reproduced. This requires at most the breaking of a donor into six pieces. 

Acanthocauli attached on a rock in captivity.


Identification Notes: There are some 40 plus species in eleven genera that make up the Fungiid family... they are described and discerned out in the field and lab mainly by their hard skeletal make-up. Septa/e are radiating ridges on their upper sides, costa/e in-between... the shape, number, regularity of the "teeth" on these structures are species identifying characteristic.

Genus Ctenactis Verrill 1864. Elongated polyps with a central furrow of one to many enclosed mouths. Septa are regularly arrayed with large triangular teeth. 

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Ctenactis crassa (Dana 1846). Axial furrow extends apparently to both ends of the polyp. Multiple mouths, all within the furrow. Juvenile and older polyp in the Red Sea.

Ctenactis echinata (Pallas 1776). Both septa and costal (top and bottom skeletal lines) bear teeth. One mouth. Below, juvenile polyp, adult and close-up in Fiji. 
Ctenactis sp. N. Sulawesi.

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Genus Cycloseris Mile Edwards & Haime 1849. Under two inches in diameter, with flat to dome-shaped circular skeletons, a central mouth, teeth on their septa, and fine costae. No pits on undersides. Generally not found on reefs. Indo-Mid Pacific; Red Sea, East Africa to Australia, Indonesia, Marquesas.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Cycloseris cyclolites (Lamarck 1801). Circular polyps of up to 40 mm. diameter, concave underneath. Septa are thick, straight, thicker and exsert near the mouth. Pale to cream in color usually, but may be brightly colored in shallow water. N. Sulawesi pic.

Fungia (Cycloseris) costulata. This species is distinguished by its straight, non-wavy septal walls and that they decidedly  thicken toward the mouth/center. Occur in sand, mud. West Pacific. N. Sulawesi pix. 
Cycloseris tenuis  (Dana 1846), Thin flat polyps. Uniform septa, but in obvious different orders, thick irregular costae underneath. N. Sulawesi pic.

Cycloseris vaughani  Boschma 1923, Vaughan's Razor Coral. Circular in shape, flat on the bottom. Found on hard surfaces in shallow depths (to forty feet or so). Six prominent septal ribs. Big Island pic.

Cycloseris sp. skeleton in the Red Sea, top view. This genus is distinguished from Fungia by its finely serrated costal edges (vs. denticular in Fungia), and lack of perforations of said walls.

Genus Diaseris Milne Edwards & Haime 1849. Solitary, flat corals that have their mouth situated at the top where fan-shaped body segments join together. Thick septa with blunt teeth, resemble granules.

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Diaseris distorta (Michelin 1843). Skeletons made up of fan-shaped elements of up to 40 mm in diameter. Often with living polyp swollen to a few times the skeleton volume. N. Sulawesi pix. 

Genus Fungia Lamarck 1801, Disk, Tongue, Mushroom Corals. Thirty three species that are difficult to discern. Circular to oblong, flat to dome-shaped. Single polyp, single mouth in the center. Costae as rows of spines, septa with smaller teeth. Pits in the skeleton underside between costae. Have rows of short tentacles that are widely spaced. Excellent aquarium subjects. 

To Do: Chart for discerning species: Characteristics vs. species: Circular or irregular polyp shape, dome shape in center?, size of costae, holes between costae (on undersides), Septal teeth shape, septae shape/regularity, tentacular lobes present? color, distribution... Important to include close-ups of above and obverse sides (ex. at right).

Fungia concinna Verrill 1864, Disk Coral. Flat, circular skeletons to six inches in diameter. Septal teeth small. Very small tentacular lobes or none. Underside lacks pits. Here off Hawai'i's Big Island at night. 

Fungia corona Doderlein 1901. Polyps flat to convex with irregular outline. Septa of different sizes with large teeth. Raja Ampat 08.

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Fungia danai Milne Edwards & Haime 1851. Circular polyps of up to twelve inches in diameter, with definitive raised central area (arch). Septa are straight, have large teeth and prominent tentacular lobes. A common species in the wild and trade. Fiji images.

Fungia fralinae Nemenzo 1955. Circular flattened polyps. Septa of two intermittent kinds; taller and lower, both with fine teeth, both thin and straight. Tentacles generally evident during the day have colored tips. Light greenish brown in color overall. Bunaken, Sulawesi, Indonesia photo. 

Fungia fungites (Linnaeus 1758). Polyps irregularly circular to round in appearance. Regular, saw like, triangular septal teeth. Often with tentacular lobes showing. Aquarium and Pulau Redang, Malaysia photos.
Fungia klunzingeri Doderlein 1901. Circular polyps of up to eight inches diameter, flat or with a central dome area. Septa of different sizes with large triangular teeth in patterns. Common in the Red Sea where these images were made. 

Fungia moluccensis Horst 1919. Here in S. Leyte 2013

Fungia scutaria Lamarck 1801. Oval, heavy polyps with high, regularly placed tentacular lobes. To seven inches. Indo-Pacific. Occur in many colors. At right in Hawai'i. Below: Specimens in the Red Seas upper Gulf of Aqaba, and one in the Maldives to show the degree of arching possible.

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Link to: Fungia species: Bigger PIX:

To: Pt. 2, Pt. 3

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