Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, p. 492

Type Species

Scapophyllia cylindrica Milne Edwards and Haime, 1849, p. 278; Subsequent Designation Milne Edwards and Haime, 1849, p. 278

Type Specimen: Holotype; MNHN IK-2010-715; Verified; Dry Preserved

Type Locality: 'les mers de la Chine?' (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1849, vol. 11, p. 278) (Recent)

In 2007, this specimen had the catalogue number scle846. In 2012, it had the catalogue number IK-2010-715.



Colonial, with intracalicular budding only. Corallites monomorphic and uniserial; monticules absent. Walls fused. Calice width small (4 mm), with low relief (3 mm). Costosepta confluent. Septa in 3 cycles (24–36 septa). Free septa present but irregular. Septa spaced 6–11 septa per 5 mm. Costosepta equal in relative thickness. Columellae trabecular but compact (1–3 threads), 1/4 of calice width, and continuous among adjacent corallites. Paliform (uniaxial) lobes well developed. Epitheca absent and endothelia sparse. Tooth base at mid-calice circular. Tooth tip at mid-calice irregular; tip orientation perpendicular to septum. Tooth height low (< 0.3 mm) and tooth spacing narrow (< 0.3 mm), with > 6 teeth per septum. Granules scattered on septal face; irregular in shape. Interarea palisade. Walls formed by strong abortive septa and partial septotheca; trabeculothecal elements may be present. Thickening deposits fibrous. Costa center clusters weak; < 0.3 mm between clusters; medial lines weak. Septum center clusters weak; < 0.3 mm between clusters; medial lines weak. Transverse crosses absent. Columella centers clustered.


'Polypier cylindrique, dressé et composé de séries intimement unies par les murailles. Columelle tuberculeuse. Cloisons extrêmement épaisses et fortement granulées.' (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, vol. 27: 492)


No apomorphies have been uncovered for Scapophyllia as yet. It shares all but one morphological character with Merulina, and they are distinguishable based on septal count—Scapophyllia with the plesiomorphy of 3 cycles (24–36 septa), and less for Merulina. Loss of epitheca and sparse endotheca occur at the base of the Merulina + Scapophyllia clade, setting Goniastrea apart from them. All subcorallite characters are shared with most of Goniastrea.


Scapophyllia Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, vol. 27: 492 is a monotypic genus that is often regarded as a close relative of Merulina. Their taxonomic histories have overlapped substantially, being placed together in Merulinidae for the most part (e.g. Vaughan and Wells, 1943: 190; Wells, 1956: F416; Veron, 2000, vol. 2: 363). It has been described as another genus only once, not surprisingly as a Merulina—M. studeri Bedot, 1907: 214, pl. 31: figs 156, 160. Molecular phylogenies demonstrate this affiliation, with these two genera forming a well-supported clade (subclade A) along with some Goniastrea spp. (Fukami et al., 2008; Huang et al., 2011).


  • Indian Ocean; Recent
  • Western Pacific; Recent
Scapophyllia is distributed on reefs of the Central Indo-Pacific, and along the coasts of India and Sri Lanka.

This page has been in preparation since 04-Oct-2009 01:32

This version was contributed by Danwei Huang on 05-Feb-2014 23:45.

Page authors are: Ann Budd Danwei Huang. Please contact the editor if you would like to contribute to the diagnosis of this taxon.

The editor is: Ann Budd

holotype of Scapophyllia cylindrica Milne Edwards and Haime
holotype of Scapophyllia cylindrica Milne Edwards and Haime