Higher classification Hexacorallia
Scientific name Corallimorpharia
|Similar Alcyoniidae, Briareum, Xenia, Caulastraea, Acanthastrea|
Corallimorpharia is an order of marine cnidarians closely related to stony or reef building corals (Scleractinia). They are mostly tropical, with a narrow column topped with a wide oral disc. The tentacles are usually short or very short, arranged in rows radiating from the mouth. Many species occur together in large groups. In many respects, they resemble the stony corals, except for the absence of a stony skeleton.
Corallimorpharians occur in a wide range of marine habitats, and are associated with phase shifts in coral reef ecosystems that result in a change from a hard-coral dominated reef to a soft-coral dominated one. Many species are also common invertebrates kept in marine aquaria.
According to World Register of Marine Species, this order contains 46 species, inside 10 genera in 4 valid families: