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Resources for identifying corals and sponges

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Does anybody have any recommendations for resources to help identify different categories of corals and sponges? I've recently started keywording my images with the help of the Humann/DeLoach identification books (RIP to the former, who passed away last month), but never have any idea if the thing occupying 60% of my reef scene is some sort of staghorn coral, gorgonian, etc. 



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1 hour ago, Floris Bennema said:

Not that there are many, but from which region?


A photo uplad could help too.


This was more of a general question about identifying corals and sponges from wherever I decide to travel to, not a request to identify something in a specific image. Of course, there's the option of posting here for help with a particular species, but I was hoping someone might have resources to make this more self-serve.

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51 minutes ago, Davide DB said:

Didn't you find anything useful here?





The Caribbean is well-covered because Humann/DeLoach had a dedicated Reef Coral Identification book for that region, and I think some of the Red Sea books cover corals as well, but coverage is lacking for other regions. For example, most of the books for the Pacific specialize in covering fish or nudibranchs (at least, that's what their names suggest; I didn't actually look at the table of contents for each book to confirm), and the one Reef Creature book (which I own) is pretty limited - there's only one page on reef-building corals, one page on gorgonians, two pages on sponges, etc.

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Maybe this one is better:




Corals - A guide to the identification of the main genera of coral reef builders of the Indo-Pacific Region

Rossi G (2021)
Italia onlus, Ancona. 441 pp. ISBN 978-88-944253-5-2


- 66 genera described

- 900 pictures

- Identification key


Down to the page here:




I know the author and I have the Italian version.


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Could be related to the number of species present that are hard to ID potentially unless you have a specimen and/or specialist knowledge?  The Caribbean has 60-70 coral species while the indo pacific has 10 times that number.  Sponges are also difficult to ID by all accounts.


This website seems to have a lot of info about Corals in the Indo-pacific.


Reef Builders

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Also recommend Coral Finder and Reef Finder:



This and many others are based on Veron (Corals of the World) but heads up that the taxonomy is changing...Check out Project Phoenix, run by coral taxonomists who are revisiting the "identity of all of the 2500+ nominal species of hermatypic (reef-building) corals needs to be tested using multiple lines of evidence, including molecular, morphological, ecological, biological and geographical data."



Edited by ErikaNydaria
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