Hawai'i Coral Reef Network

Marine Life of Hawai'i

Glossary of Technical Terms

CALYX (plural, CALICES): depression that houses the polyp

COENOSTEUM: common surface of corallum between calices

COLUMELLA: central structure of the calyx formed by fusion of the septa

CORALLUM (plural, CORALLA): skeleton of entire coral colony

CORALLITE: skeleton produced by an individual polyp

COSTA (plural, COSTAE): extensions of the septa outside the calyx unto the coenosteum

PAPILLAE: rounded nipple-like projections covering the coenosteum; found in Montipora

THECA: wall of corallite

SEPTUM (plural, SEPTA): : skeletal plates that project into the calyx from the theca; may be subdivide into primary, secondary, and tertiary septa

VERRUCAE: small cylindrical projections arising from the corallum that contain calices; found in Pocillopora


Last update: 1/25/2005