Learn About Cup Corals

There are only a handful of species of stony corals inhabiting the shallow subtidal regions of the west coast, with the most common being the cup coral Balanophyllia elegans. Other less commonly encountered species of cup corals are Paracyathus stearnsi and Caryophyllia alaskensis.

photographs of stony corals Lophelia pertusaNOTE  representatives of the Geological Survey of Canada recently report evidence of past coral reefs at depths of about 240m in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia.  The species in question, Lophelia pertusa, forms extensive reefs in many parts of the world, but this is the first report of its presence in B.C.  No living specimens are found, but the well-preserved remains extend over several hectares and indicate that a large cold-water reef existed up until recently. The authors note the sensitivity of such reefs to damage from trawler-boat fishing.  Conway et al. 2007 Current Res 2007-A2 Natural Resources Canada.

Dead specimens of stony coral Lophelia pertusa photographed in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia

ANIMATION of snail meeting CUP CORAL © 2010 Thomas Carefoot

snail's map showing click-on images of invertebrates dealt with in the educational website A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY

To learn about west-coast CUP CORALS: select a topic from the Cnidaria > Cup corals menu at the top of the page

OR: play the ANIMATION of the snail meeting the CUP CORAL

OR, if you want to see other animations: follow the snail on its ODYSSEY by CLICKING on any X-marked invertebrate on the map

Phylum Cnidaria (lit. “nettle-bearing” G.), referring to the nematocysts possessed by all members of the phylum; includes sea anemones, cup corals, corals, sea pens, gorgonians, jellyfishes, hydroids

Class Anthozoa (lit. “flower animal” G.), including sea anemones, sea pens, corals, and cup corals

Subclass Hexacorallia (=Zoantharia) (lit. “six coral” G.), referring to six sets of mesenteries

Order Scleractinia (=Madreporaria) (lit. “hard” G.), including corals and cup corals, Balanophyllia elegans