Oculinidae is a family of colonial corals. Oculina and Schizoculina are found in the Atlantic Ocean while Galaxea and Simplastrea are found in the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea. Most species are uncommon but Galaxea is widely distributed and common.
Members of the family Oculinidae are characterised by having the walls of the corallites (the cavities which house the polyps) being composed of solid walled though rather fragile tubes connected by a smooth skeletal material called coenosteum. The corallites are widely spaced and robust. The septae (ridges on the corallite walls) curve noticeably outward giving the coral a spiky appearance. Many species in this family form a symbiotic relationship with the flagellate protozoa zooxanthellae which live within the tissues of the polyps. These are photosynthetic algae that provide nutrients for the polyps while themselves benefiting from a safe environment and an elevated, sunny position.
The World Register of Marine Species lists the following genera:
- Bathelia Moseley, 1881
- Cyathelia Milne-Edwards & Haime, 1849
- Galaxea Oken, 1815
- Madrepora Linnaeus, 1758
- Oculina Lamarck, 1816
- Petrophyllia Conrad, 1855
- Sclerhelia Milne Edwards & Haime, 1850
- WoRMS (2010). "Oculinidae; Gray, 1847". World Register of Marine Species. http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=135078. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- Family Oculinidae Horizon. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- Galaxy Corals, Family Oculinidae Wet Web Media.com. Retrieved 2011-12-15.