September: Micromussa lordhowensis

Author: Andrew Baird

Species: Micromussa lordhowensis (Veron and Pichon 1982)

This a striking beautiful coral, with brightly coloured large fleshy tentacles that puff up during the day making the corallum appear plocoid, however, they retract when touched to reveal the ceroid arrangement of the corallites. This species was initially placed in the genus Acanthastrea (Veron 2000), however, the molecules and a closer examination of the morphology now place it in the genus Micromussa (Arrigoni et al. 2016). The specimen photographed on the Yongala (see below) is the first I recall seeing on the Great Barrier Reef, although it has been recorded on the GBR before. The species is highly abundant in the Solitary Islands and ironically rare on Lord Howe Island.

[Image: Micromussa lordhowensis colony found on the SS Yongala]

Literature cited

Arrigoni R, Benzoni F, Huang DW, Fukami H, Chen CA, Berumen ML, Hoogenboom M, Thomson DP, Hoeksema BW, Budd AF, Zayasu Y, Terraneo TI, Kitano YF, Baird AH (2016) When forms meet genes: revision of the scleractinian genera Micromussa and Homophyllia (Lobophylliidae) with a description of two new species and one new genus. Contributions to Zoology 85:387-422

Veron JEN (2000) Corals of the world. AIMS, Townsville

Veron JEN, Pichon M (1982) Scleractinia of Eastern Australia. Part IV. Family Poritidae. Australian National University Press, Canberra

2 thoughts on “September: Micromussa lordhowensis

  1. I enjoyed updating & annotating my 1986 Corals of Australia and the Indo-Pacific by Veron, as well as my 1995 Hermatypic Corals of Japan by Nishihira & Veron.
    With gratitude to your team at Project Phoenix over the last five years,
    Keven Reed
    Fleming Island, Florida
    USA

    Like

  2. Hi Kevin – no worries. Great to see you found the post useful. That reminds me – I have a spreadsheet that allows you to go from Veron 2000 to the currently accepted species as at WoRMS. I’ll post that to the website shortly. Cheers Andrew

    Liked by 1 person

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