Fun Finger Coral Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Finger Coral Facts For Kids

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Have you ever gone to a pet store and stumbled on corals in the aquarium supplies section? Yes, these mysterious organisms do look special and are living-breathing animals just like us. Among the numerous corals found in the aquarium industry, the finger leather coral or trough corals gained popularity throughout the years. These beautiful-looking soft-bodied corals are usually from the Sinularia genus. The finger-like projections give the coral its name, and while touching the coral, you can feel the velvetiness of its body. Unlike hard or stony corals, these are soft, so it sways with medium or high water movement. The spaghetti finger leather coral is the most common variant that you will see in stores, and taking care of it is easy. However, the Sinularia genus has 166 known species.

Want to know more about this species? Keep reading to find out interesting finger coral facts! Also, check out these articles on seahorse facts and mudfish facts to know about other marine creatures.

Fun Finger Coral Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

Not estimated

How much do they weigh?

Not estimated

How long are they?

9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Blue, green, yellow, multicolor

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Black Band Disease, Brown Jelly Infections, Flatworms, Cyanobacteria, Necrosis

What is their conservation status?

Not Listed

Where you'll find them?

Oceans, Home Aquarium


Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean




Sinularia; Porites





Finger Coral Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a finger coral?

Finger leather corals are a type of soft corals mainly belonging to the Sinularia genus.

What class of animal does a finger coral belong to?

The finger leather coral belongs to the phylum Cnidaria and to the class Anthozoa. Many marine invertebrates, including the sea anemone, are present under the same genus.

How many finger corals are there in the world?

It is hard to find all coral species' exact population, let alone just the finger leather corals. Many corals fuse to form a reef which makes it hard to separate the species. Moreover, certain species appear very similar, and it can be very hard to tell the difference without a close lab check. However, it is thrilling to know that there are 6000 or more species of corals living in this world.

Where does a finger coral live?

The finger leather coral is a marine variant, and species such as Sinularia polydactyla and Sinularia flexibilis have especially been found in Pacific and Indian Oceans. However, these are also commonly used to make a home aquarium so that they can be found worldwide.

What is a finger coral's habitat?

The finger leather coral dwells in marine water and lives in the bottom of different marine environments. These are hardy corals that can adapt to different situations, and it requires moderate to bright light. These corals prefer the alkalinity of 3.2 - 4.8 MEQ/L. So while setting up a tank, you will need to make sure about its aquarium compatibility before going around and making a whole reef. The spaghetti finger leather coral species are found at a depth of around 3-49 ft (1-15 m) and have a temperature preference of 74-83 F (23-28 C).

Who do finger corals live with?

When you look at its natural environment, finger leather corals will be found with other corals forming a reef. These corals also need to attach themselves to something, so you will often find it on rocks or even on dead corals. Common reef inhabitants like clownfish are also present. Apart from the clownfish, these corals also have a symbiotic relationship with planktons like zooxanthellae that live in their crevices.

How long does a finger coral live?

Even though it is hard to tell the exact lifespan of a coral, all we can say is that a finger leather coral can outlast your life with good care. Most corals manage to live hundreds of years, forming strong reefs.

How do they reproduce?

A finger leather coral or a Sinularia coral may use different reproduction techniques such as fission, branch dropping, or fragmentation to reproduce. You can also use a similar technique on the trough corals of your tank by fragmenting one when it gets too big. Again, make sure to have moderate water movement as it stops the fragment from deflating.

What is their conservation status?

Finger leather corals are yet to make it into any conservation lists.

Finger Coral Fun Facts

What do finger corals look like?

By the name of this coral, you can understand that the finger leather coral is named after its finger-like projections. Every coral will have its distinct look, and it might often be hard to tell apart the species. The spaghetti finger coral has more thin, rough projections and can come in brown, tan, white, gray, and green colors. These corals have polyps that are visible during feeding and later are retracted. As a soft coral variant, the fingers do move during medium to high water movement. This coral also has a soft leather-like feel to it, which gives its name.

finger leather coral has finger-like projections

How cute are they?

You may have noticed finger leather corals in a reef aquarium, and it never fails to look adorable. The soft velvety feel of these species, along with its finger-like projections, gives it an impressive look.

How do they communicate?

Corals do communicate amongst each other as well as with species that are present near it. However, we are yet to know a lot about this complex communication process that is often based on biological processes. Some corals even release chemicals to hunt for fish, but finger leather corals don't have that characteristic. Corals may also rely on light for communication.

How big is a finger coral?

The average finger leather coral will measure around 9.8-11.8 in (25-30 cm). While starting a reef aquarium or tank, you might be sold a piece that is as small as 1-2 in (2.6-5 cm). On the other hand, a fire coral usually grows to be 78.7-118 in (200-300 cm). A coral reef is formed when many corals live close together, and these structures can be quite big.

How fast can a finger coral move?

As sessile creatures, finger corals cannot move. However, the best thing about the finger leather coral is its soft body that moves along with the water.

How much does a finger coral weigh?

It is very hard to put down an average weight range, as corals develop quickly and may weigh starkly different from another reef.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the male and female finger leather corals. Most coral species are hermaphrodites, lacking a set sex.

What would you call a baby finger coral?

The beginning larva formed by the fertilization of the egg cell by the sperm cell in corals is known as a planula. These are free-swimming larvae hunting for the best place to settle down and set up their beautiful colonies.

What do they eat?

The eating behavior of corals depends on the species. When living in the wild, Sinularia corals or finger leather corals tend to either depend on zooxanthellae or microscopic organic particles living in the water. A leather coral will filter the water to get the food particles. The zooxanthellae are single-celled dinoflagellates that live in the crevices of the corals and share a symbiotic relationship with organisms. When kept in a tank, a finger leather coral can be given brine shrimp or microplankton. Corals eat by putting out their polyps, which are retracted once the feeding is over. They need to be kept in a brightly lit reef aquarium to support the growth of zooxanthellae.

Are they poisonous?

Yes, corals from the Sinularia genus can be toxic, especially the green finger leather coral. Hence, it is important to handle the corals as safely as possible. Sinularia flexibilis is especially known for producing terpenes, flexibilide, and dihydroflexibilide. Also, when you are setting up a mixed reef aquarium, it is advisable to run carbon in frequent intervals to keep the other reef inhabitants safe. Don't keep finger leather corals with Acropha, Euphyllia, Catalaphyllia, and Plerogyra species.

Would they make a good pet?

Well, corals aren't seen as pets even though it is a living organism. As you do not need to take exclusive care of corals, people often include them in aquarium supplies to make a reef aquarium or a normal tank-look species. The finger leather coral is one of the most sought-after decoration pieces because of the fantastic look. However, make sure that it is legal to possess the coral in your area, as possessing some corals is banned due to environmental issues and rarity.

Did you know...

You will be amazed to know that the yellow finger coral mushroom looks very similar to a finger leather coral because of its finger-like projections. These grow in many parts around the world, mainly in moist forest areas like on rotten wood or on surfaces with moss.

Their main threats are Cyanobacteria, brown jelly infections, flatworms, necrosis, and black band disease.

Owning finger corals

Sinularia leather corals are quite common in the market, and you can get one, but we will still advise you to check with local laws before you make the purchase as some corals are illegal to own. Getting a finger leather coral is quite easy, but you need proper finger leather coral care for it to thrive. This includes regular water change, a proper pump, and medium to high water movement. Check for proper aquarium supplies to keep the coral as happy as possible. A minimum tank size of 50 gal (189 l) works great, especially for the spaghetti coral, as it grows very fast. The best part about finger leather corals is their hardiness, which makes the taking of them super easy.

How are corals dangerous?

There might be a misconception that all corals are somehow dangerous to humans. However, that claim isn't true, but some species like the zoanthid corals produce highly toxic chemicals. Zoanthid corals are known to produce a substance called palytoxin that might be lethal to humans and other animals. As corals are stationary, different coral species may need to produce toxic substances as self-defense against predators.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these brain coral facts and coral facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable finger coral coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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