Duncanopsammia axifuga at Condillac Island, Kimberley (Photo: Zoe Richards)
Duncanopsammia axifuga in the Pilbara (Photo: Richard Evans)

Duncan Coral; Whister Coral; Daisy Coral

Duncanopsammia axifuga

The long heavily calcified tubular corallites of this species make it very conspicuous but it is rarely encountered. Individual polyps are large (~1 – 1.5cm in diameter), hence each branch that arises from a broad central attachment generally contains a limited number of polyps (>15). The corallite contains a deeply seated broad columellae. Three cycles of septa are developed in a Pourtalés plan and the first cycle of 12 primary septa are exert. The oral disc is green, blue, grey and tentacles are often extended during the day.


Tubular branching.


Species age estimated to be 3.269 mya.


A zooxanthellate coral meaning that single-celled dinoflagellate algae live symbiotically within the endodermal cells of the coral’s tissue. The zooxanthellae photosynthesise and the excess oxygen and sugars they produce provides energy and nutrition to the coral. When the polyp extends its tentacles it bears resemblance to an anemone and it is a voracious heterotrophic feeder. This species often hosts commensal organisms such as barnacles which can occur on the coenosteum or septa. Duncanopsammia axifugais a relatively unaggressive coral and a relatively poor competitor.



Intertidal reef edge habitats; submerged reef slopes; shallow sandy substrates amongst macroalgae (0-30m).


Central Indo-Pacific, primarily Australia.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Subclass: Hexacorallia
Order: Scleractinia
Family: Dendrophylliidae
Genus: Duncanopsammia
Species: axifuga
Name Published Year: 1848
Rank: species
Scientific Name Authorship: Milne Edwards & Haime
Commercial Impact: 

Popular in the aquarium industry

Conservation Assessment: Near Threatened

Net Conservation Benefits Fund

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Western Australian Museum Collections https://museum.wa.gov.au/online-collections/names/duncanopsammia-axifuga
Accessed 27 Oct 2021

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