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Pearl Bubble Coral

Physogyra lichtensteini


Commonly known as the Pearl Bubble Coral, Physogyra lichtensteini is distinct due to its fleshy vesicles which are on display throughout the day providing refuge for several marine invertebrates including shrimp.

At night tentacles are extended to trap passing nutrients. This EDGE Coral is widespread and common on most shallow reefs in the Indo-Pacific but is often heavily harvested for the aquarium trade.

  • Order: Scleractinia
  • Family: Euphyllidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Colony Size: Up to 3m
  • Depth Range (m): 1-20

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 3.98 (?)
ED Score: 12.33 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


A widely distributed EDGE species, the pearl bubble coral can be encountered on reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea to the tropical Western Pacific.

Habitat and Ecology

P. lichtensteini colonies are most common in shallow and turbid reef environments and in very rare cases can reach up to 3m in diameter.

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This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Urban development Industrial development Tourism Extreme temperatures Extreme weather Shipping Fishing Recreation Invasive species Native species Wastewater Industry Agriculture Air pollution

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
Available at:

Download the survival blueprint for this species below. Each survival blueprint is compiled by an EDGE fellow working on the species with input from collaborators and stakeholders. The survival blueprint provides a status review (information on the distribution, protection status, habitat & ecology, threat and stakeholder analysis) and more information on the action programme listed here. 

This Survival Blueprint is for the Action Programme for Seychelles National Parks Authority.

Vision (30-50 years)

Coral reefs are resilient to natural impacts and thrive across its natural range

Goal (5-10 years)

To inform and guide management decisions so as to conserve all existing coral reefs, while increasing resilience


Protection of all coral species and associated reef species (including EDGE and rare corals) Critical
Research and Monitoring of EDGE coral distribution Critical
Establishing rehabilitation and restoration of coral reefs for improved health Critical
Building collaboration between marine research organisation working on coral reef conservation, in the Seychelles High
Collaborating with Dive centres on data collection on coral reefs High
Leading the Seychelles Coral Reef Network for data collection and information sharing in the inner granitics and outer islands of Seychelles High
Enhancing international cooperation between scientific and expert organizations working on research and conservation of EDGE corals in the Western Indian Ocean Medium
Creating awareness on EDGE and rare coral species Low

This Survival Blueprint is for the Action Programme for Philippine coral reefs.

Vision (30-50 years)

The pearl bubble coral is valued and protected in the Philippines and in the Indo-Pacific Coral Triangle eco-region, fulfilling its ecological role in a healthy, stable ecosystem.

Goal (5-10 years)

To increase and maintain the functional population of Physogyra lichtensteini in self sustaining marine habitats in the Philippines


To develop research database on P. lichtensteini Critical
To raise awareness of P. lichtensteini (and EDGE coral species), elevating them as flagship or umbrella species in the Philippines, to help strengthen marine conservation and promote protection of MPAs Critical
To strengthen legislation and enforcement in various political and geographical areas in the Philippines Critical
To develop and improve conservation strategies that aim to maintain healthy, diverse habitats and restore and rehabilitate degraded ones Critical
To enhance capacities of local communities in environmental conservation and protection Critical

This Survival Blueprint is for the Action Programme for The Maldives coral reefs.

Vision (30-50 years)

Pearl bubble coral Physogyra lichtensteini is economically and ecologically valued and protected across the Maldives

Goal (5-10 years)

Areas with high abundace of Physogyra lichtensteini are protected through well managed conservation measures


Strengthen enforcement and legal framework relevant to environmental conservation Critical
Increase the capacity of stakeholders to monitor and manage coral reefs Critical
Increase awareness about coral reef science and conservation Critical
Improve and maintain access to coral reef science for policy development and decision making High

Ditto dela Rosa

  • Project name: Conserving mushroom corals in Polillo Islands
  • Project site: Polillo Islands, Philippines
  • Active: 2011 - 2013
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Ahmed Basheer

  • Project name: Spatial variation in abundance and distribution of two rare and vulnerable EDGE coral species under different management regimes
  • Project site: North Male and North Ari atolls, Maldives
  • Active: 2016 - 2018
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Grace Quiton

  • Project name: EDGE Coral Reef Conservation in the Pacific Municipalities, Southern Leyte
  • Project site: Southern Leyte, Philippines
  • Active: 2011 - 2013
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