It has been hypothesized that endolithic photo- autotrophs inside the skeleton of cold-water corals may have a mutualistic relationship with the coral host posi- tively affecting coral calcification. This study investigated the effect of endolithic photo-autotrophs on the apical septal extension of the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus at Fjord Comau, southern Chile (42.41°–42.15°S, 72.5°W). The fluorescent staining agent calcein was used to document the linear apical extension of septae for a period of one and a half years between 2006 and 2007. The results showed a severe reduction in extension rates asso- ciated with the presence of endolithic photo-autotrophs. Infested individuals grew about half as fast as non-infested polyps with a median value of 1.18 lm day-1 compared to 2.76 lm day-1. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, these results point toward a parasitic relationship between D. dianthus and its endolithic photo-autotrophs potentially impairing coral fitness. However, further data on physio- logical parameters and other aspects of the calcification process are necessary to confirm these findings.