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.
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