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 Corals of the Family Siderastreidae  

By Bob Fenner

Siderastrea siderea, Belize

Family Siderastreidae, Vaughn & Wells 1943.

Though hard to make out exactly with a live specimen and nothing to magnify the view, this widespread family's members are unified by characteristics of their individual polyp skeleton (corallite) structure. These are flush with the surrounding carbonate mass (coenosteum) by thick septo-costae, with the septa fused in the middle to form a fan or star-like grouping.


The six genera of Siderastreids really get around (five are Indo-Pacific, one Pacific and Atlantic). Found in the Red Sea, eastern African shores over to the mid-Pacific, Society Islands, along the tropical Eastern Pacific, tropical West Atlantic, Brazil, and tropical eastern Atlantic coast.

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Oddly enough, for such common species in the wild, it is rare to find a Siderastreid offered for sale in the ornamental trade.

Genus Coscinaraea Milne Edwards & Haime 1848. Now moved to its own family Coscinaraeidae

Genus Psammacora Dana 1846, Pillar, Cat's Paw Coral. /WA Corals: massive, columnar, branching, laminar or encrusting • corallites small, septa fuse to form a flower pattern • coenosteum is granular
Placed in the family Psammocoridae by some.

Psammacora explanulata Horst 1922. Plate-like or encrusting colonies whose corallites are regularly distributed and have meandering septa-costae.


Psammacora haimeana Milne Edwards & Haime 1851. Submassive colonies whose corallites are striated at their bottoms. Walls with steep sides.


Genus Pseudosiderastrea Yabe & Sugiyama 1935. Monotypic. /WA Corals: small massive or encrusting colonies • corallites ceroid (shared walls) and shallow • corallites >10mm diameter • corallite walls are distinctively white • similar to Leptastrea

Pseudosiderastrea tayami Yabe & Sugiyama 1935. Dome shaped colonies arise from laminar ones, up to 16 cm. across. Corallites polygonal, cerioid, 3-6 mm. across. Septa evenly spaced, join each other at wall.  



Genus Siderastrea de Blainville 1830. Starlet Coral. Perhaps the most widespread coral genus. Found most everywhere corals are found around the world.

Siderastrea radians. Lesser Starlet Coral. Encrusting plates or irregular domes. Colonies 4-12 inches in diameter. Corallites small (2-3 mm in diameter), look pinched in. Tan, grey, bluish purple. Tropical West Atlantic. Bonaire pix.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Siderastrea siderea (Ellis & Solander 1786). Pink Starlet Coral. Encrusting to massive/boulder-like. Corallites small (3-4.5 mm in diameter). Tropical West Atlantic. Bahamas images.

Bigger PIX:
 The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

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