species: Diploastrea heliopora in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Diploastrea heliopora

©Andy Lewis: Macro image of Diploastrea heliopora showing the typical form of the corallites

©Andy Lewis: A colony of Diploastrea heliopora at Big Vicki's Reef

©Andy Lewis: Large colony of Diploastrea heliopora in shallow water at Watson's Bay
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Cnidaria
Class Hexacorallia
Order Scleractinia
Family Merulinidae
Genus Diploastrea
Species Diploastrea heliopora
Status near threatened



Distinguishing features

A species that forms smooth massive domes up to 5m diameter. Corallites are plocoid, large, conical, thick-walled and conspicuous. Colonies are brown with paler corallite openings.


  • Size data has not been obtained.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Reef fronts, exposed back reef areas.

Can be found in most habitats around Lizard Island.


Diploastrea is a monospecific genus, and D. heliopora has a widespread Indo-Pacific distribution. Polyps are extended only at night, and are aggressive, hence this species usually shows little bioerosion or competion from other corals.

Colonies may reach a large size and live for several centuries, hence this species has been used to reconstruct paleoclimates and assess the effects of Crown of Thorns Starfish outbreaks.

D. heliopora is a broadcast spawning hermaphrodite, however individual polyps are either male or female.

Web resources


  • Baird, A.H., J.R. Guest and B.L. Willis (2009). Systematic and biogeographical patterns in the reproductive biology of scleractinian corals, Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 40: 551-571.
  • Baird, A.H. and P.A. Marshall (2000). Bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef: differential susceptibilities among taxa, Coral Reefs, 19: 155-163.
  • Berumen, M.L. (2000). Influence of diet and habitat on the condition of butterflyfish, M.Sc. thesis, James Cook University. LIRS catalog number 719.
  • View all references