Open brain coral

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Open brain coral
Open Brain Coral Green.jpg
Green open brain coral
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Scleractinia
Family: Merulinidae
Genus: Trachyphyllia
Milne Edwards & Haime, 1849
T. geoffroyi
Binomial name
Trachyphyllia geoffroyi
Audouin, 1826[1]


  • Antillophyllia Vaughan, 1932
  • Callogyra Verrill, 1901
  • Wellsophyllia Pichon, 1980


  • Antillia duncani Yabe & Sugiyama, 1931
  • Antillia flabelliformis Yabe & Sugiyama, 1931
  • Antillia geoffroyi (Audouin, 1826)
  • Antillia infundibuliformis Gerth, 1921
  • Antillia orientalis Gerth, 1921
  • Callogyra formosa Verrill, 1901
  • Manicina amarantum Dana, 1846
  • Trachyphyllia amarantum (Dana, 1846)
  • Trachyphyllia amarantus (Müller, 1775)
  • Trachyphyllia lelandi Nemenzo, 1971
  • Trachyphyllia radiata (Pichon, 1980)
  • Turbinolia geoffroyi Audouin, 1826
  • Wellsophyllia radiata Pichon, 1980

The open brain coral (Trachyphyllia geoffroyi) is a brightly colored free-living coral species in the family Merulinidae. It is the only species in the monotypic genus Trachyphyllia and can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific.


Open brain corals can be solitary or colonial.[2] They are small corals, rarely reaching over 20 cm in diameter.[3] They are free-living and exhibit a flabello-meandroid growth form, meaning they have distinct valley regions separated by walls.[4][5] In colonial forms, the valley regions can contain multiple individual polyps.[5] Complexity of valley regions can range; some are hourglass shaped while other cans be highly lobed.[2] They typically have bilateral symmetry.[4] During the day when the polyp is closed, the coral is covered by a mantle that extends beyond the skeleton, but can retract when disturbed.[4][5] Polyps and mantle are very fleshy.[4] Colonies can be blue, green, yellow, brown, and are often vibrantly colored.[4][5]

The open brain coral is known to host a species of gall crab, Lithoscaptus semperi.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

A red variety of Trachyphyllia in a reef aquarium

Open brain corals can be found throughout the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea to New Caledonia. They are found up to a maximum depth of 40 meters.[3]

Open brain corals are less common directly in coral reef communities, and are more often found on sandy reef slopes, around continental islands, and lagoons.[2][5][3] Open brain corals can often be found near other free-living corals.[3][7] Large colonies of open brain corals are uncommon, and are typically only observed in marine protected areas.[3]


The IUCN lists open brain corals as "near threatened" due to habitat loss and over-harvesting for the aquarium trade.[3] The biggest exporter of open brain coral is Indonesia. In 2005, Indonesia exported over 60,000 open brain corals for use in the aquarium trade.[3]

Other threats to open brain corals include disease, acidification, and severe storms.[3]


  1. ^ WoRMS (2011). "Trachyphyllia geoffroyi". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Best, M.B. and Hoeksema, B.W. (1987). "New observations on scleractinian corals from Indonesia: 1. Free-living species belonging to the Faviina". Zoologische Mededelingen. 61 (27): 1–11.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Trachyphyllia geoffroyi". Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  4. ^ a b c d e "WoRMS - World Register of Marine Species - Trachyphyllia geoffroyi (Audouin, 1826)". Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Corals of the World". Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  6. ^ van der Meij, Sancia E.T. (2015-04-27). "A new gall crab species (Brachyura, Cryptochiridae) associated with the free-living coral Trachyphyllia geoffroyi (Scleractinia, Merulinidae)". ZooKeys. 500: 61–72. doi:10.3897/zookeys.500.9244. ISSN 1313-2970.
  7. ^ Veron, J.E.N. (1986). Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. London: Angus & Robertson Publishers. p. 538.