Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife

Join Project Noah!

Orange cup coral

Balanophyllia elegans


The Orange cup coral is a species of solitary cup coral, a stony coral in the family Dendrophylliidae. Its main prey is zooplankton caught by the tentacles. This coral can also extract dissolved organic carbon from sea water, and during the winter months, when there is a scarcity of zooplankton, this source of nutrition may be critical for the coral's survival. Source:Wikipedia.


Spotted in tide pools at Tongue Point. It is native to the eastern Pacific Ocean. It occurs on rocky coasts from the low intertidal zone down to about 290 m (950 ft). It appreciates habitats with vigorous water movement, such as surge channels, and often grows in caves and under overhangs.


I was fortunate to find this coral - over the seemingly hundreds of tide pools I studied it only existed in 2 pools that I found.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Brian38 a year ago

Thanks so much Neil. They are very much anemone like in their look and behavior. I believe they are the only hard corals (Scleractinia) that we have on the Washington coast. I'm not sure what the pea looking things are. I didn't know they were there until I saw them on my computer.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Ah, embryo-like things are part of the seaweed. My eyes aren't so keen, and my specs always seem to be somewhere else :-/

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a year ago

Beautiful spotting! You have keen eyes. So small, and they look like tiny anemones. In the second photo I can see small pea-like organisms. Do you know if they are related to this species? Perhaps an embryo of sorts?

Spotted by

Washington, USA

Spotted on Apr 20, 2019
Submitted on Apr 27, 2019

Related Spottings

Orange/Sunflower Cup Coral Orange cup coral Orange cup coral Scarlet coral. Clavel de mar

Nearby Spottings

Orange sea cucumber Hairy sand peanut Orange cup coral Green sea urchin