back

Stylophora

Stylophora is a genus of reef-building stony corals and is classified as Small Polyp Scleractinia (SPS), or small polyp stony corals. They are common and are distributed in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and eastern Pacific to Pitcairn. It is more diverse in the Red Sea and western Indian Ocean than in the Indo-Pacific as the only major stony coral genus. Fossil Stylophora are already known since the Mesozoic from the Thethys Sea (until about 200 million years ago). Stylophora grow in a bush-like branching manner, often with finger-thick branches. Their polyps are similar to other members of the Pocilloporidae (Madracis, Pocillopora, Seriatopora) and have nearly transparent tentacles with colored tips. Unlike related species, the branches are usually over 10 mm thick, the thickness often corresponding to the extent to which the corals are exposed to currents and tides. The color is usually brown to greenish, popular are especially the rarer pink specimens from the South Seas, for example from Fiji, and the purple color form known as "Milka" with white growing tips.

They live in symbiosis with zooxanthellae and can feed on light. In general Stylophora are still quite undemanding and hardy for SPS, they can be maintained even with higher nutrient levels. However, for optimal color development they need strong light and low nutrient levels, as well as the right trace elements. The current should be very strong as typical for SPS.

Back to Top