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Sun mushroom coral

Heliofungia actiniformis


Its large tentacles make it easy to be confused with an anemone. Solitary. In spite of their calcareous skeleton, they have the ability to move. For this, they inflate with water until they reach a globular shape and then they displace with the moving current. The coloration varies from pink to brown, tan, purple or green. The tips of the tentacles are of a clearer color: white, yellow, violet, gray or green, contrasting with the rest of the body. They can reach 20 cm and their elongated mouth is 3 cm wide. the polips contain symbiotic algae which perform photsynthesis, producing sugars and oxygen that are used by the polip. The bacteria in turn feed from the catabolites of the coral (phosphorus and nitrogen). The polip also feeds on plancton. Within its tentacles shrimps and prawns can often be found. Periclimenes gender as Metapontonia fungiacola, Hamopontonia corallicola and the nigrolineatus Siokunichthys pipefish.


Their geographical distribution comprises the Indian Ocean from India to Australia and Ryukyu I.. Also located on the African East coast. Usually found in soft or rocky grounds near the surface, or in sunny protected reefs, like the coral lagoons. Its depth range reaches up to 40 m, but is most common between 1 and 25 m.

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Negros Oriental, Philippines

Lat: 9.19, Long: 123.27

Spotted on Oct 2, 2012
Submitted on Dec 26, 2012

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