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Brain coral

Brain coral

On Exhibit: Splash Zone & Penguins

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Lobophyllia sp

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    nutrients provided by algae growing in their tissues; small, drifting animals

  • Size

    colonies can grow 6 or more feet (1.8 m) high

  • Relatives

    brain corals, other corals, sea anemones, jellies; Phylum: Cnidaria; Order: Madreporaria; Family: Mussidae

  • Habitat

    Coral Reefs

  • Range

    Red Sea through the Indo-Pacific to southern Japan

Natural History

These corals get their common name from the grooves and channels on their surfaces that look like the folds of the human brain. There's more than one kind of "brain coral"—several species from two different families of corals share the name—but all help build coral reefs.


Coral reefs around the world are in danger. Silt (fine soil) smothers coral when it washes off the land from farm fields, roads and building sites. More towns and resorts near shore mean more sewage, oil and chemicals in the water.

Cool Facts

While staghorn corals grow rapidly to gain new territory, slow-growing brain corals rely on brawn. They hold their ground by being solid and strong enough to withstand the storms that pound more delicate corals to rubble.

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