species: Ctenactis echinata in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Ctenactis echinata

©Andy Lewis: A pair of Ctenactis echinata at Watsons Bay, Lizard Island

©Anne Hoggett: Ctenactis echinata about 35 cm long, immediately before spawning at about 9:30 pm on 20 Nov 2016 at Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island. This specimen appears to have two mouths but this may be due to an injury at the site where the mouths meet.

©Anne Hoggett: Ctenactis echinata immediately after one of several forceful spurts of spawning, at about 9:30 pm on 20 Nov 2016 at Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island. Successive spurts were separated by a minute or two.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Cnidaria
Class Hexacorallia
Order Scleractinia
Family Fungiidae
Genus Ctenactis
Species Ctenactis echinata
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

A fungid coral that forms an elongate skeleton up to 35 cm long. Septal teeth are well developed. Only a single mouth is present. Colour is typically brown.


  • Up to 35 cm (Length)


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Reef fronts, lagoons.

Can be found in most habitats around Lizard Island.


C. echinata is a gonochoric broadcast spawner. In Japanese populations from Okinawa, the species was shown to be protandrous with the capability for bi-directional sex change. In Red Sea populations, it takes approximately 10-12 years to reach the maximum size of 200mm.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Veron, J.E.N. (2000). Corals of the World: Volume 2 Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville.

Other references

  • 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.
  • Dinesen, Z.D. (1983). Shade-dwelling corals of the Great Barrier Reef, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 10: 173-185. LIRS catalog number 157.
  • View all references