Palythoa leseuri (Leseur’s zoanthid)


Zoanthids with large and flat, brown oral disc with ridges and knob-like tentacles on the margins of the oral discs. The oral discs sit on a thin stalk. The zoanthid forms large aggregations.


Unassessed by the IUCN Red list.


Known from tropical waters. They are commonly found in shallow reefs or intertidal areas.



Oral discs are 2-3cm. in diameter. The aggregations can grow quite large.

Prey / Predation

Special features

Palytoxin is a highly toxic substance produced by many species of Palythoa, and is also found in other corals and certain marine invertebrates. The substance was first isolated from a seaweed-like “limo-make-o-Hana” (“Seaweed of Death from Hana”) in 1971 in Hawaii. Scientific investigation of the seaweed found it to be a colonial cnidarian, which was classified as a zoanthid and named Palythoa toxica. Small quantities of palytoxin can be fatal should it be ingested or inhaled.

While poisoning events have occurred, they are exceedingly rare, and many reef hobbyists have kept Palythoa without any adverse reactions. However, It is generally recommended to always wear appropriate protective gloves and goggles when reaching into aquaria and handling animals which are suspected to be toxic