Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, p. 492

Type Species

Manicina amarantum Dana, 1846, p. 189; Subsequent Designation Milne Edwards and Haime, 1849, p. 275

Type Specimen: Syntype; USNM 85; Verified; Dry Preserved

Type Locality: Habite les mers de la Chine (Recent)

The specimen that Milne Edwards and Haime actually used in designating the type species is indicated as being located in "Coll. M. et E." in Paris ("Habite les mers de la Chine"). The locality of Dana's specimen is indicated as "East Indies (USEE)". Manicina amarantum was later synonymized with Trachyphyllia geoffroyi (Audouin), see discussion in Matthai (1928). The other syntype is YPM IZ 1974.




Colonial and free-living, with intracalicular budding only. Corallites monomorphic and uniserial; monticules absent. Phaceloid (flabello-meandroid). Calice width large (> 15 mm), with high relief (> 6 mm). Septa in ≥ 4 cycles (≥ 48 septa). Free septa present but irregular. Septa spaced < 6 septa per 5 mm. Costosepta unequal in relative thickness. Columellae trabecular and spongy (> 3 threads), < 1/4 of calice width, and continuous among adjacent corallites. Septal (multiaxial) lobes well developed. Epitheca well developed and endotheca low-moderate (tabular). 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 aligned on septal face, perpendicular to septal margin; irregular in shape. Interarea palisade. Walls formed by dominant paratheca and partial septotheca; trabeculothecal elements may be present; abortive septa absent. Thickening deposits fibrous. Costa center clusters weak; 0.3–0.6 mm between clusters; medial lines strong. Septum center clusters weak; 0.3–0.5 mm between clusters; medial lines strong. Transverse crosses present. Columella centers clustered.


'Diffère surtout du précédent [Colpophyllia] en ce que les séries restent libres par les côtés, que la columelle est spongieuse et bien marquée et que les cloisons présentent un lobe paliforme bien distinct.' (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, vol. 27: 492)


Many apomorphies define Trachyphyllia, and even more so on the molecular tree simply because it is separated from Coelastrea, to which it is morphologically closest to. Based on an integrated analysis of both data types, eight apomorphies of macro- and micromorphology are identified, distinguishing this genus from Coelastrea, which in contrast have discrete corallites of medium width (4–15 mm) and relief (3–6 mm), limited or fused walls, evenly thick costosepta, medium tooth height (0.3–0.6 mm) and spacing (0.3–1 mm), and aligned granules. Trachyphyllia is the only free-living coral in Merulinidae, noting that Catalaphyllia, possibly also a merulinid (Romano and Cairns, 2000; Barbeitos et al., 2010; Huang, 2012; Huang and Roy, 2013), can also be free-living (Wells, 1971; Veron et al., 1977). This represents an autapomorphy that is not phylogenetically informative within the family, but which is Trachyphyllia's most distinctive feature.


Trachyphyllia was established by Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, vol. 27: 492 initially without a type, and compared to the genus Colpophyllia, a meandroid Atlantic genus. Manicina amarantum Dana, 1846: 189, pl. 9: fig. 1 was designated the type species shortly after, but this name had been used earlier on an Atlantic species Colpophyllia amaranthus (Houttuyn, 1772: 128) (Verrill, 1901: 81; Matthai, 1914: 97). The next available name that could be used was the second Trachyphyllia species studied by Milne Edwards and Haime, 1849, vol. 11: 276, T. geoffroyi. This incidentally was a young coral of Dana's species collected from the Red Sea, figured in Audouin, 1826: 233, pl. 4: figs 1.1. Trachyphyllia remains a monotypic genus, phylogenetically recovered unexpectedly in a clade along with Dipsastraea and Coelastrea. It may be nested amongst these genera (Huang et al., 2011; Arrigoni et al., 2012), or as an outgroup to them (Fukami et al., 2008). Regardless, the long branch subtending it suggests that it is genetically very distinct, and we maintain its present generic status until more samples have been analysed. Historical geographic distributions from literature: Wells, 1956: Mio.-Recent; Indo Pacific. Recent; Australia. Veron, 2000: earliest fossil record: Eocene; Tethys and Indian Ocean. Oligocene of the Caribbean.


  • South Asia; Paleocene
  • North America; Paleocene
  • Western Europe; Eocene
  • Central America; Eocene
  • Caribbean; Eocene
  • South America; Eocene
  • Southeast Asia; Eocene
  • North America; Oligocene
  • Caribbean; Oligocene
  • South America; Oligocene
  • West Asia; Oligocene
  • North America; Miocene - Pliocene
  • South Asia; Miocene
  • North America; Miocene
  • Central America; Miocene
  • Caribbean; Miocene
  • South America; Miocene
  • Southeast Asia; Miocene
  • East Asia, Melanesia, North America, Caribbean, Southeast Asia; Pliocene - Pleistocene
  • East Asia; Pleistocene - Holocene
  • Australasia; Pleistocene
  • Indian Ocean; Recent
  • Western Pacific; Recent
  • Central Pacific; Recent
Source: Paleobiology database (accessed June 25th, 2012), Veron (2000). Historical distribution: Miocene-Recent., IndoPacific (Wells, 1956). Distribution compiled by Matthew Tibbits. Recent: Trachyphyllia is widely distributed on reefs of the Indo-Pacific, and absent east of Vanuatu.


This page has been in preparation since 25-Jan-2010 00:30

This version was contributed by Danwei Huang on 05-Feb-2014 23:57.

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

Syntype of Manicina amarantum Dana
Syntype of Manicina amarantum Dana
Syntype of Manicina amarantum Dana
Drawing of Turbinola geoffroyi Audouin

See all illustrations