Tubastraea faulkneri (Orange cup coral)


Tubastraea faulkneri are easily recognizes as brightly yellow, orange or pink colored clumps of polyp mounds. Polyps are extracted at night and dusk, they are brightly yellow to orange.


Unassessed by the IUCN Red list, but a fairly common species in the Indo-Pacific.


This coral can be found in Western Indo-Pacific, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia. They are often found in greater densities on vertical walls and caves, in a wide depth range of 3-225 meters.



A single mound and polyp can grow up to 5-6 cm in length, entire colonies usually grow to fist-size, but also over a meter in diameter.

Prey / Predation

Lighting does not affect the growth of the orange cup Coral. They are referred to as azooxanthellate, or non-photosynthetic corals. This means that they do not have a symbiotic relationship with the marine algae zooxanthellae. They rely on catching plankton which they take from the water column.

Special features

There are various species of Tubastraea, that are almost impossible to identify on visual characteristics alone. Additional information on location, depth or inspection of the internal skeleton can reveal the species. They are also know as sun coral. Like soft corals, the Tubastraea faulkneri can also produce bio-active compounds. Some of these can be damaging to the larvae of some corals, but one of these compounds, called tubastrine, has anti-viral properties.