Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, p. 493

Leptoria Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, p. 493

Type Species

Meandrina phrygia Lamarck, 1816, p. 248 = Madrepora phrygia Ellis and Solander, 1786; Original Designation Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, p. 493

Type Specimen: Holotype; MNHN IK-2012-14001; Verified; Dry Preserved

Type Locality: 'l'Ocean des Grandes-Indes et la mer Pacifique' (Lamarck, 1816, p. 248) (Recent)

The holotype of Madrepora phrygia Ellis and Solander, 1786, p. 162, pl. 48 (fig. 2) is GLAHM 104018, and is cited by Lamarck, 1816.



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 septa). Free septa present but irregular. Septa spaced 6–11 septa per 5 mm. Costosepta equal in relative thickness. Columellae lamellar or spongy trabecular (> 3 threads), < 1/4 of calice width, and continuous among adjacent corallites. Paliform (uniaxial) lobes absent. 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; weak (rounded). Interarea palisade. Walls formed by dominant trabeculotheca and partial septotheca; abortive septa absent. 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 strong. Transverse crosses absent. Columella centers aligned.


'Diffère des genres précédents [Meandrina, Manicina, Diploria] par sa columelle lamellaire. Les collines sont simples, minces ou vésiculeuses.' (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, vol. 27: 493)


Leptoria is sister taxon to the clade comprising Australogyra and Platygyra, with small calice diameter (< 4 mm) and low relief (< 3 mm) as synapomorphies. Along with the narrower spacing between teeth (< 0.3 mm) in Leptoria, only these size-related features distinguish the genus from its closest relatives, subcorallite characters included. Leptoria phrygia is the only species in Merulinidae to possess lamellar columella, but this is lacking in its conspecific L. irregularis, which may account for its association with the phylogenetically distant Merulina ampliata and Scapophyllia cylindrica (Veron, 2000, vol. 3: 202). However, subcorallite characters may separate them on the basis of Leptoria's weak granule alignment and trabeculothecal walls without abortive septa. Only macromorphology has been characterized for L. irregularis; detailed investigation on this species will clarify its status.


Leptoria was established by Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848, vol. 27: 493 as a genus with lamellar columellae, and Meandrina phrygia Lamarck, 1816: 248 as the type. Two other living taxa, Meandrina gracilis Dana, 1846: 261 and Meandrina tenuis Dana, 1846: 262, were also included (Milne Edwards and Haime, 1857, vol. 2: 407) but later synonymized with the type species (Matthai, 1928: 112; Chevalier, 1975: 110; Veron et al., 1977: 115). All specimens used to describe them correspond to the original description in the possession of lamellar columellae. The addition of Leptoria irregularis Veron, 1990: 147 necessitates the broadening of this description. Molecular phylogenies have placed this species at two distinct positions, sister to Scapophyllia cylindrica (Fukami et al., 2008) or Leptoria phrygia (Huang et al., 2011). Material for the former were collected from Okinawa, Japan, just 400 km north of the type locality, while the latter sample came from the Philippines. We have not been able to examine both these types in detail, but assume the latter to be positively identified in order to preserve the taxonomic status quo. Nevertheless, the presence of 'irregularly fused trabeculae' (Veron, 1990: 148) suggests that lamellar columella is only present in L. phrygia and not the entire genus. Our character analysis shows that this trait is an autapomorphy. Leptoria has been considered a synonym of Platygyra by several authors (Matthai, 1928: 110; Wells, 1936: 124; Ma, 1937: 97) because by elimination, the first three of five species listed by Ehrenberg, 1834: 323 were deemed unsuitable as they were thought to refer to the Atlantic species Madrepora labyrinthiformis Linnaeus, 1758 (Matthai, 1928: 110). Platygyra phrygia (Lamarck, 1816: 248), fourth on the list, was therefore regarded as the type of Platygyra, with Leptoria becoming a synonym. This interpretation was short lived, as Vaughan and Wells, 1943: 169 redesignated the first species on Ehrenberg's list, Maeandra (Platygyra) labyrinthica from the Red Sea, as type species of Platygyra (see also Vaughan, 1901a: 50), and also resurrected Leptoria immediately after (see remarks for Platygyra).


  • North Africa; Paleocene
  • Central America, Caribbean; Eocene - Oligocene
  • Southern Europe; Eocene - Miocene
  • Western Europe; Eocene
  • Southern Europe; Eocene
  • South Asia; Eocene
  • Melanesia; Eocene
  • Central America; Eocene
  • Caribbean; Eocene
  • Eastern Europe, Subsaharan Africa; Oligocene - Miocene
  • Southern Europe; Oligocene
  • Subsaharan Africa; Oligocene
  • South Asia; Oligocene
  • Caribbean; Oligocene
  • South America; Oligocene
  • Southeast Asia; Miocene - Pliocene
  • Australasia; Miocene - Pleistocene
  • South Asia; Miocene
  • Melanesia; Miocene
  • Caribbean; Miocene
  • Southeast Asia; Miocene
  • Southeast Asia; Pliocene - Pleistocene
  • East Asia; Pliocene
  • Melanesia; 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
  • Polynesia; Pleistocene
  • West Asia; Pleistocene
  • West Indian Ocean Islands; Pleistocene
  • Southeast Asia; Pleistocene
  • Indian Ocean; Recent
  • Western Pacific; Recent
  • Central Pacific; Recent
  • East Asia; Holocene
  • Micronesia; Holocene
  • Polynesia; Holocene
  • West Asia; Holocene
  • West Indian Ocean Islands; Holocene
  • Southeast Asia; Holocene
Source: Paleobiology Database (accessed 5/30/12), Veron (2000). Historical distribution: Upper Cretaceous-Recent., Europe-IndoPacific (Wells, 1956). Distribution compiled by Matthew Tibbits. Recent: Leptoria is widely distributed on reefs of the Indo-Pacific, present as far east as the Gambier Islands in the southern hemisphere (Glynn et al., 2007), but absent eastwards from Hawai'i in the north.

This page has been in preparation since 14-Jun-2008 03:59

This version was contributed by Danwei Huang on 05-Feb-2014 22:39.

Page authors are: Ann Budd Ken Johnson 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 Leptoria Milne Edwards and Haime, 1848
Holotype of Madrepora phrygia Ellis and Solander
Holotype of Madrepora phrygia Ellis and Solander
Detail of colony surface of holotype of L. phrygia showing meandroid calical arrangement.

See all illustrations