Saturday 25 May
Larger star coral (Favites chinensis)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Larger star coral fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Larger star coral description
Growing in characteristically shaped mounds or domes, Favites chinensis forms massive, rounded colonies composed of numerous individual polyps. Each polyp secretes a hard skeleton, called a ‘corallite’, which is shallow and angular, with thin walls. Adjacent corallites often share a common wall, and the septa (projections that point inwards from the corallite wall) are straight and even, giving the coral a uniform, star-like appearance. Favites chinensis is generally yellow or greenish-brown in colour (3).
- Favites yamanarii, Prionastrea chinensis. Top
- Simple plants that lack roots, stems and leaves but contain the green pigment chlorophyll. Most occur in marine and freshwater habitats.
- A group of organisms living together. Individuals in the group are not physiologically connected and may not be related, such as a colony of birds. Another meaning refers to organisms, such as bryozoans, which are composed of numerous genetically identical modules (also referred to as zooids or ‘individuals’), which are produced by budding and remain physiologically connected.
- Possessing both male and female sex organs.
- Metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is broken down, using energy from sunlight absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product.
- Capable of photosynthesis, a metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is broken down, using energy from sunlight absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product.
- Typically sedentary soft-bodied component of cnidaria, a group of simple aquatic animals including the sea anemones, corals and jellyfish. A polyp comprises a trunk that is fixed at the base, and a mouth that is placed at the opposite end of the trunk and is surrounded by tentacles.
- In a coral, radial elements that project inwards from the corallite wall (the skeletal wall of an individual coral polyp).
- The production or depositing of eggs in water.
IUCN Red List (September, 2010)
CITES (September, 2010)
- Veron, J.E.N. (2000) Corals of the World. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Australia.
- Richmond, R.H. and Hunter, C.L. (1990) Reproduction and recruitment of corals: comparisons among the Caribbean, the Tropical Pacific and the Red Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 60: 185-203.
- Veron, J.E.N. (1993) Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.
- Carpenter, K.E. et al. (2008) One-third of reef-building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts. Science, 321(5888): 560-563.
Miththapala, S. (2008) Coral Reefs. Coastal Ecosystem Series (Volume 1). Ecosystems and Livelihoods Group Asia, IUCN, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Available at:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Larger star coral biology
Favites chinensis can reproduce asexually, forming colonies by a process called ‘budding’ (where each polyp divides itself into two or more daughter polyps). Favites chinensis is also a hermaphrodite and can reproduce sexually by producing eggs and sperm, which are released into the water during a short spawning period (3) (4).
Like other reef-building corals, Favites chinensis has many microscopic, photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae, living within the polyp tissues. The coral and the algae have a mutually beneficial relationship; the coral provides protection for the algae, which in return provide energy and nutrients through photosynthesis. Both Favites chinensis and its zooxanthellae are very sensitive to changes in water temperature and acidity, and any increase in the water temperature greater than one or two degrees above the normal average can stress the coral and cause ‘bleaching’, a phenomenon in which the coral expels it zooxanthellae and turns white (3) (5).Top
Larger star coral rangeTop
Larger star coral habitat
Occurring in a wide range of shallow reef environments, Favites chinensis is found on subtidal rock and rocky reefs, in the outer reef channel, on reef slopes and in lagoons. It can be also found on inter-tidal rubble substrate, inhabiting depths down to 20 metres (1).Top
Larger star coral statusTop
Larger star coral threats
The proportion of corals threatened with extinction has increased dramatically in recent decades, with current estimates suggesting that a third of all coral species have an ‘elevated risk’ of extinction (6). Detailed studies have found that around 20 percent of the world’s coral reefs have been already been destroyed, while at least 24 percent of remaining reefs face a high risk of collapse (7).
Corals are particularly affected by the changing global climate, with rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification and mass coral bleaching events all contributing to significant declines in corals. In addition, these varying conditions have greatly increased the susceptibility of corals to disease, a factor which has recently emerged as a major cause of reef deterioration. Favites chinensis is often targeted for the aquarium trade and is under threat from over-collection, as well as from pollution from agriculture, industrial activity, human developments, recreation and tourism (1) (6) (7).Top
Larger star coral conservation
Favites chinensis is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that all trade in the species should be carefully monitored. It is also known from several Marine Protected Areas. The identification and establishment of new protected areas may prove crucial for the conservation of Favites chinensis and many other corals, while further research into disease, pathogen and parasite management in corals is also needed. Further research into aspects of Favites chinensis’s ecology, abundance, population trends, habitat status and taxonomy is required in order to find out more about how the species is likely to respond to the increasing number of threats throughout its range (1).Top
Find out more
For further information on the conservation of coral reefs see:Top
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
This species is featured in:
This species is featured in Jewels of the UAE, which showcases biodiversity found in the United Arab Emirates in association with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.