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Members of this family are known from the Late Eocene (about 45 million years ago, see Wells, 1977) to the Recent, and occur in the tropical and warm temperate Indo-West Pacific and tropical western Atlantic regions at depths of 50 to 700 m. Because they occur in relatively deep water they are exclusively azooxanthellate. Consequently, anthemiphylliids are relatively small, the largest known being a flat, disc-shaped corallum 21 mm in diameter. Seven Recent species are known (Cairns, 1999), as well as two fossil species.
Anthemiphylliids are exclusively solitary and usually discoidal to bowl-shaped in growth form, never forming colonies. One species, A. frustum, is known to reproduce asexually by transverse division. Although not the only faviine genus to be solitary, Anthemiphyllia is one of the few genera of the suborder Faviina to have this growth form (see Best and Hoeksema, 1987). Most anthemiphylliids live unattached to a substratum, but some species retain an attachment, especially in the young stages. One species, A. dentata, is the host for the galls of parasitic ascothoracidan Crustacea (Grygier, 1991).