Symphyllia was a genus of large polyp stony corals (LPS). They occur in the Red Sea, the tropical Indo-Pacific and from Japan to the South Sea Islands of the Pacific. They preferentially colonize reef slopes and surf-protected marginal reefs. Typically, colonies grow in a massive dome shape, the corallites are flabello-maeandroid, or twisted like a brain, and consist of a valley with ridges as a fringe, which are often contrastingly colored. Each corallite houses several polyps, as seen by the many mouth openings. In the meantime, the genus Symphyllia no longer exists, as after taxonomic revisions most species have been reassigned, most to Lobophyllia. However, it is still needed for CITES purposes, which is why we as dealers can't get away from it for now. Distinguishing "Symphllia" from Lobophyllia has often been difficult; in general, species designated as Symphyllia tend to have larger, more branched corallites with more mouth openings than Lobophyllia, whose corallites are often more separated and do not exhibit ridges dividing the interior surface. Known species include Symphyllia (Lobophyllia) valenciennesi or Symphyllia (Australophyllia) willsoni. During the day Symphyllia hide their tentacles and mainly perform photosynthesis with their zooxanthellae, while at night they extend their tentacles and also go out to catch plankton.

They are robust and tolerate even high nutrient levels, and require only weak lighting, otherwise they bleach out easily, especially animals from muddy habitats with strong turbidity, which is often the case with S. willsoni, for example. Especially popular are Symphyllia with several colors, often red/green "bicolor" animals are on the market, from Indonesia red/golden animals are on the market as captive breeds, and from Western Australia rainbow-colored, ultra-colorful specimens of S. willsoni come again and again.

Back to Top