species: Heteropsammia cochlea in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Heteropsammia cochlea

©Anne Hoggett: Heteropsammia cochlea at Watson's Bay, Lizard Island, 17 metres depth

©Anne Hoggett: Heteropsammia cochlea is extremely common in water deeper than 13 metres in Watson's Bay. It is the most common member of a unique assemblage of solitary corals in this area. In this photo, there is also one specimen each of Cycloseris cyclolites and Heterocyathus aequicostatus.

©Anne Hoggett: A sipunculan worm, Aspidosiphon (Aspidosiphon) muelleri, is an obligate commensal with Heteropsammia cochlea. It lives inside the skeleton and can extend its proboscis through a hole in the base of the coral to move the coral and prevent it from becoming buried.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Cnidaria
Class Hexacorallia
Order Scleractinia
Family Dendrophylliidae
Genus Heteropsammia
Species Heteropsammia cochlea



Distinguishing features

Distinguishing features still need to be specified.


  • Size data has not been obtained.


Interesting facts

  • These small free-lving corals are mobile due to their obligatory association with sipunculan worm, Aspidosiphon (Aspidosiphon) muelleri(Fisk, 1983)


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Web resources


References that assist with identification

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

Other references

  • Fisk, D.A. (1983). Free-living corals: distributions according to plant cover, sediments, hydrodynamics, depth and biological factors, Marine Biology, 74: 287-294. LIRS catalog number 107.
  • Grygier, M.J. (1981). Petrarca okadai, a new crustacean (Maxillopoda: Ascothoracida) from the Great Barrier Reef, the first shallow-water record of the genus, Journal of Crustacean Biology, 1(2): 183-189. LIRS catalog number 71.
  • View all references