Link, 1807, p. 162

Type Species

Favites astrinus Link, 1807, p. 162 = Madrepora abdita Ellis and Solander, 1786; Original Designation Link, 1807, p. 162

Type Specimen: Holotype; GLAHM 104005; Not Traced; Unknown

Type Locality: 'probablement les mers des Grandes-Indes' (Lamarck, 1816, p. 265) (Recent)

Link's specimen of Favites astrinus could not be located. Favites astrinus was inferred as being synonymous with Madrepora abdita Ellis and Solander, 1786 (type species of Prionastrea) in Vaughan (1901, p.21-22), and Vaughan (1918, p.109) indicates Madrepora abdita Ellis and Solander as the type species.




Colonial, with intra- and extracalicular budding. Corallites monomorphic and discrete (1–3 centers); monticules absent. Coenosteum costate, limited amount (includes double wall) or fused walls. Calice width medium (4–15 mm), but may be larger (>15 mm), with medium relief (3–6 mm). Costosepta may be confluent. Septa generally in ≥ 4 cycles (≥ 48 septa). Free septa present but irregular. Septa spaced 6–11 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. Paliform (uniaxial) lobes weak to well developed. Epitheca well developed and endotheca generally abundant (vesicular). Tooth base at mid-calice circular. Tooth tip at mid-calice irregular; tip orientation perpendicular to septum. Tooth height medium (0.3–0.6 mm) and tooth spacing medium (0.3–1 mm), with > 6 teeth per septum. Granules scattered on septal face; irregular in shape. Interarea palisade. Walls formed by dominant paratheca and partial septotheca; abortive septa absent. Thickening deposits fibrous. Costa center clusters generally strong; 0.3–0.6 mm between clusters; medial lines weak. Septum center clusters weak; 0.3–0.5 mm between clusters; medial lines weak or strong. Transverse crosses generally present. Columella centers clustered.


'Wabenkoralle. Unförmige, kalkartige Massen, mit oberflæchlichen zerstreuten sternförmig blættrigen Öffnungen.' (Link, 1807: 162)


There are no apomorphies for Favites that are consistent across data types, primarily due to the recovery of F. russelli and F. pentagona in distant parts of the molecular phylogeny. Few characters separate them from other Favites spp., such as the number of septa and distinctiveness of costa center clusters, and further studies are warranted to determine if they should be distinguished as separate genera. For reasons unknown, Favites rotundata Veron, Pichon and Wijsman-Best, 1977: 64 was placed in Favia by Veron, 2000, vol. 3: 124 although its 'coralla are subplocoid' (Veron et al., 1977: 64). Morphological and molecular analyses consistently recover this species within the Favites clade (Huang et al., 2011; Huang, 2012; Arrigoni et al., 2012), supporting its original placement within Favites. Favia marshae Veron, 2000, vol. 3: 122 was described as a morphologically similar species (see also Huang, 2012), but without molecular data to justify this affinity, we preserve its membership within Dipsastraea. The name Montastraea valenciennesi has been applied on two disparate plocoid species differing in the degree of separation between adjacent corallite walls (Fukami and Nomura, 2009). Presumably, the 'corallite-wall separate type' is a Dipsastraea species, while the 'corallite-wall fusion type' is the one recovered within the Favites clade (Huang et al., 2011). Based on thin section observations, we find no difference in wall separation between the two types. However, two synapomorphies of the most inclusive Favites clade omitting F. pentagona—septa in 4 or more cycles and strong costa center clusters—are clearly present in the specimen recovered within the Favites clade (TB102). The specimen also possesses unequal costosepta and well-developed paliform lobes that are found in Milne Edwards and Haime's holotype of Phymastrea valenciennesi. These traits are missing in the other type, which should therefore be considered as a cryptic Dipsastraea species (Huang et al., 2014).


Favites Link, 1807: 162 has been a difficult genus to define. By convention, species tend to have 'cerioid, occasionally subplocoid' (Veron, 2000, vol. 3: 134) corallites. There is now little doubt that the clade with the majority of Favites spp., including the type species F. abdita, also contains species with fully plocoid corallites such as Phymastrea valenciennesi Milne Edwards and Haime, 1849, vol. 12: 124 and Montastrea colemani Veron, 2000, vol. 3: 219 (Arrigoni et al., 2012), while Montastraea magnistellata Chevalier, 1971: 293 is sister to this clade (Huang et al., 2011; Huang, 2012). In this sense, Favites has been a paraphyletic group. The solution proposed here is thus to move the three species above into Favites. On the one hand, recovery of Favites pentagona, F. russelli and F. peresi (a Goniastrea sp. according to Veron, 2000, vol. 3: 166) separately in distant lineages renders the genus polyphyletic (Huang et al., 2011; Arrigoni et al., 2012). We resolve this partially by moving F. peresi into the new genus Paramontastraea Huang and Budd. On the other hand, we find limited morphological basis for transferring F. pentagona out of the genus because it is the sister group to the rest of Favites on the morphology tree. Favites micropentagonus 'looks like a diminutive form of the well know [sic] Favites pentagona' (Veron, 2002: 148) and is thus a likely sister species of F. pentagona. For both species, further molecular sampling will clarify their affinities. Favites bestae is a junior synonym of Astraea melicerum Ehrenberg, 1834: 320 described by Veron, 2000, vol. 3: 140 (see also Veron, 2002: 150), while the latter name is sometimes considered a synonym of F. pentagona (Matthai, 1914: 95; Chevalier, 1971: 215; see also Wijsman-Best, 1972: 30). The reason given for establishing this species is that the holotype of the senior synonym had been lost, and thus the name F. melicerum is 'unverifiable'. Since Veron, 2000, vol. 3: 140 deems F. bestae to be a separate species from F. pentagona, by extension F. melicerum is also regarded as distinct from F. pentagona, a view held by Vaughan, 1918: 112. The use of Favites bestae as a 'new name' or 'nomen novum' is considered unncessary since it is neither a replacement for a preoccupied name (Article 60.3 of the Code; see Hoeksema, 1993) nor a substitute for an unavailable or invalid name (Article 23.3.5 of the Code). Nevertheless, a neotype needs to be designated for its senior synonym F. melicerum, a task undertaken by Huang et al. (2014).


  • East Asia; Late Jurassic
  • West Asia; Late Jurassic
  • South Asia; Eocene
  • Central America; Eocene
  • Southeast Asia; Eocene
  • Western Europe; Oligocene
  • Southern Europe; Oligocene
  • Subsaharan Africa; Oligocene
  • South Asia; Oligocene
  • North America; Oligocene
  • Central America; Oligocene
  • Caribbean; Oligocene
  • Southeast Asia; Miocene - Pliocene
  • Western Europe; Miocene
  • Southern Europe; Miocene
  • Eastern Europe; Miocene
  • North Africa; Miocene
  • Subsaharan Africa; Miocene
  • South Asia; Miocene
  • East Asia; Miocene
  • Australasia; Miocene
  • Melanesia; Miocene
  • Micronesia; Miocene
  • North America; Miocene
  • Caribbean; Miocene
  • West Asia; Miocene
  • Southeast Asia; Miocene
  • North Africa, Southeast Asia; Pliocene - Pleistocene
  • North Africa; Pliocene
  • East Asia; Pliocene
  • West Asia; Pliocene
  • Southeast Asia; Pliocene
  • East Asia; Pleistocene - Holocene
  • North Africa; Pleistocene
  • Subsaharan Africa; Pleistocene
  • South Asia; Pleistocene
  • East Asia; Pleistocene
  • Australasia; Pleistocene
  • Melanesia; Pleistocene
  • West Asia; Pleistocene
  • West Indian Ocean Islands; Pleistocene
  • Southeast Asia; Pleistocene
  • Indian Ocean; Recent
  • Western Pacific; Recent
  • Central Pacific; Recent
  • South Asia; Holocene
  • East Asia; Holocene
  • Australasia; Holocene
  • Melanesia; Holocene
  • Micronesia; Holocene
  • Polynesia; Holocene
  • West Asia; Holocene
  • Southeast Asia; Holocene
Source: Paleobiology database (5/28/12), Veron (2000). Historical distribution: Eocene-Recent., Europe-West Indies-IndoPacific (Wells, 1956). Distribution compiled by Matthew Tibbits. Recent: Favites is widely distributed on reefs of the Indo-Pacific, present as far east as the Tuamotu Archipelago in the southern hemisphere (Glynn et al., 2007), but absent eastwards from Hawai'i in the north.

This page has been in preparation since 19-Jul-2010 02:57

This version was contributed by Danwei Huang on 05-Feb-2014 21:45.

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 Madrepora abdita Ellis and Solander
Holotype of Madrepora abdita Ellis and Solander