Cup Coral

(Turbinaria peltata)




Facts about this animal

The Cup Coral has rather small polyps but may grow to more than 1 m. There are two main habits: one being rangy conical, another being cup-shaped. It may also be found in the form of ruffled ridges, plates, vases, or scrolls. Colours may be bright yellow, cream white, grey, brown, blue and green. The base and the polyps are blue.

Depending on the conditions that it is exposed to, it can grow horizontally or vertically.

The Cup Coral is nocturnal and hides its polyps during day in the skeleton. By night, it feeds on plankton.

The age of first maturity of most reef building corals is typically three to eight years.

This species is particularly susceptible to bleaching – caused by higher temperature going along with climate change –, disease, and other threats.

Did you know?
that a genus of brown algae is also called Turbinaria? That in 2005 17,191 Cup Coral were exported - mainly from Indonesia - for the aquarium trade?


Name (Scientific) Turbinaria peltata
Name (English) Cup Coral
Name (French) Scléractiniaire, corail dur
Name (German) Kelchkoralle
Name (Spanish) Coral Copa
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Charlie Veron



Range Africa, Indonesia
Habitat Tropical coral reefs at 9-20 m depth, rarely above or below from 0.5-25 m. It prefers vertical cliff faces and reef slopes.
Wild population This species is widespread and common throughout its range. However, it is heavily harvested for the aquarium trade.
Zoo population 52 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Cup Coral


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Charlie Veron

Why do zoos keep this animal

Aquariums keep the Cup Coral for educational purposes. It serves as an ambassador species for the different kind of threats to tropical reefs. These threats are mainly anthropogenic.