Dendronephthya sp. (Tree soft coral)


Bushy or tree-like soft corals with long and slender branches. Bundles of sclerites (hard needle-like body parts) are visible on the branches and polyps. Polyps are incapable of completely retracting into the branches. Colors vary from bright yellow, orange, red, purple to green.


Unassessed by the IUCN Red list, but considered a common species throughout the Indo-Pacific.


They can be found in the Red Sea, on the East African coast, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. They prefer currents-swept reefs with overhangs, caves, crevices, coral heads and wrecks, in a depth range of 10-50 meters.


Sexual reproduction through year-round spawning (release of gametes).


Up to 120cm.

Prey / Predation

These soft corals lack zooxanthellae, that can harvest sunlight to turn into energy, so they must actively feed. They feed on phytoplankton, as well as small quantities of zooplankton.

Special features

The genus Dendronephthya consists of an impressive 255 species, with each having small, intricate differences, that are almost impossible to identify on visual inspection alone. Further study needs to be done to get more insight into this genus.