Tubastrea coccinea | ©Cláudio S. Feijó   (Ilha Grande, Angra dos Reis, RJ, Brasil)

Tubastrea coccinea (Scleractinia - Dendrophylliidae) is a large-polyp stony coral, known with the common name of Orange Cup Coral. Because the species grows in spherical forms and exhibits beautiful yellow or orange polyps, it is also known as Sun Coral.

This heterotrophic (azooxanthellate) coral is found in most or all of the Indo-Pacific region as a native species, however it also has been reported in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, Brazil [1] and even New Zealand and West African region [2], where it is considered an invasive species.

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Orange Cup Coral (Tubastraea coccinea)

Sometimes known as the sun coral, the orange cup coral is a species of Dendrophylliid stony coral which is native to the Indo-Pacific region. However, it has been introduced to much of the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. T. coccinea will typically inhabit shaded vertical surfaces and caverns, and like other cnidarians are predators, feeding on passing food items.


Animalia-Cnidaria-Anthozoa-Scleractinia-Dendrophylliidae-Tubastraea-T. coccinea

Images: Nick Hobgood and Alexander Vasenin

Sunset cup coral

Looks like a flower, but actually it is the tentacular polyp of the stony coral Leptopsammia pruvoti (Scleratinia - Dendrophylliidae).

Leptopsammia pruvoti is typically solitary but is rarely found in small groups forming ‘pseudocolonies’. The tentacles are quite long and number around 96. When fully retracted the tentacles are barely visible inside the skeleton.

This species is recorded in the north-east Atlantic in the Channel Isles, Brittany and Portugal, it is also found in the Mediterranean. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Joao Pedro Silva

Locality: Paredes do Cabo, Sesimbra, Portugal

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Cup Coral Portrait | ©Henry Jager  (Kasai Village, Moalboal, Philippines)

No, this is not a flower, but an animal. Flowers don’t have a mouth.

Portrait of a Gracile Cup Coral, Dendrophyllia gracilis (Dendrophylliidae), a stone coral whose polyps, like this one, are about 2,5 cm in size.

Syn. Cladopsammia gracilis.