Colonies are branching with blunt-ended branches becoming thick and submassive. Corallites are immersed, conical or hooded. They have a solid style-like columella, six primary septa which may be short or fused with the columella, and sometimes six short secondary septa. The coenosteum is covered by fine spinules.
Uniform cream, pink, blue (which may photograph pink) or green.
Primarily in shallow water reef environments exposed to strong wave action.
Common; may be a dominant species on exposed reef fronts.
Taxonomic note: This species is divisible into several smaller semi-distinct taxonomic units. Colonies from shallow reef flats with thick branches have been called Stylophora mordax. Source reference: Veron (2000). Taxonomic references: Veron and Pichon (1976), Dai (1989). Additional identification guides: Veron (1986), Nishihira and Veron (1995), Coles (1996), Carpenter et al. (1997).
displaying probable distribution of species. Points indicate recorded sightings from OBIS.
Stylophora pistillata.Papua New Guinea.On a reef exposed to strong wave action. Branches are thick and sturdy as in the adjacent colony of Acropora palifera.Charlie Veron.
Stylophora pistillata.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Sturdy branches of a colony exposed to strong wave action.Jim Maragos.
Stylophora pistillata.Papua New Guinea.Branches of colonies exposed to turbulence are often irregular.Charlie Veron.
Stylophora pistillata.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.A finely branched colony from a sheltered reef slope.Jim Maragos.
Stylophora pistillata.Ashmore Reef, western Australia.Polyps partly extended during the day.Charlie Veron.
Stylophora pistillata.Seychelle Islands.Side view of branches.Charlie Veron.
Stylophora pistillata.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.Detail of a colony with thick branches.Valerie Taylor.
Stylophora pistillata.Papua New Guinea.Detail of a colony with thin branches.Charlie Veron.
Stylophora pistillata.Great Barrier Reef, Australia.On an upper reef slope. Branches are moderately thick.Neville Coleman.
Stylophora pistillata.Indonesia.Detail of a colony with extremely thick branches.Charlie Veron.