The Corallimorpharia are an order of the Anthozoa with about 40 known species. The taxonomy of the order is still very uncertain and inadequately studied. For example, there are genera that do not contain any species since these have been assigned to other genera.


Like the sea anemones, a skeleton is missing from the Corallimorpharia. One main feature they have is the big oral disk. This is occupied by tentacles, which are not circular. Instead, in contrast to the sea anemones, they are mostly distributed over the entire mouth disc, spreading out spirally from the centre. The oral disk passes into a narrow body, at the end of which is a foot-disc.

Corallimorpharia are usually very colourful. Their size ranges from a few centimetres up to one meter in diameter.

Distribution and Habitat

The most of them live on solid ground. Many species occur in shallow water.

The greater part of Corallimorpharia are tropical species. However, representatives of the order are present in all seas around the world. That is, they are found from the Arctic to the Equator.


They usually live solitary. Only a few species form colonies in which the individual polyps can hardly be distinguished from each other.

Their reproduction takes place sexually or asexually, by cloning.

The diet of Corallimorpharia consists of zooplankton, echinoderms, snails, crustaceans or small fish. Above all, the shallow water occurring species live in a symbiosis with Zooxanthellae, which supply them with vital nutrients.

Species of Corallimorpharia on the Canary Islands