Coral of the Moment

Discover behind-the-scenes stories about selected corals by our members.

The peculiar case of Porites spumosa Lamarck, 1816

Author: Andrew Baird Species: Porites spumosa Lamarck, 1816 Porites spumosa was described by Lamarck in 1816. In his original description, he refers to a drawing in Knorr (1772; Plate 1A, Fig. 4; reproduced in Fig. 1c in present article). Lamarck (1816) also describes details of the specimen that are not apparent in the drawing, so it is likely … Continue reading The peculiar case of Porites spumosa Lamarck, 1816

Acropora teres

Author: Andrew Baird Species: Acropora teres (Verrill 1866) This species has confounded coral researchers for many years. The holotype (Fig. 1a) was collected from Amami-Ousima Island in the Ryukyus Archipelago in Japan in 1856 on the US Northern Pacific Exploring Expedition and described as Madrepora teres by Verrill in 1866. The distinctive features of the species are … Continue reading Acropora teres

Montipora albanesei

Author: Andrew Baird Species: Montipora sp. “albanesei“ Project Phoenix members are in the field chasing topotypes and discovering new species. Yesterday, while in the lagoon of Cocos Keeling Island, we came across fields of Montipora including at least 3 species we have never seen before. If these do turn out to be new, we plan to call … Continue reading Montipora albanesei

Plesiastraea proximans

Author: Andrew Baird Species: Plesiastraea proximans Dennant, 1904 The use of types in taxonomy does present some problems. For example, in many older works the catalogue number of the specimen on which the species description was based is not listed, and in some situations it is not even clear which museum the specimen was deposited … Continue reading Plesiastraea proximans

Pavona duerdeni

Author: Tom Bridge Species: Pavona duerdeni Vaughan 1907 Pavona duerdeni is regarded as a distinctive species. The intricate thamnasteroid (or ‘star-shaped) corallites (see Rosen 1986) of this species clearly identify it as a member of the family Agariciidae, but the most distinctive feature of the species, at least as interpreted in recent decades (e.g. Veron … Continue reading Pavona duerdeni

Acropora torresiana

Author: Andrew Baird Species: Acropora torresiana Veron 2000 One of the many difficulties in sorting coral taxonomy is the often contradictory information attached to the type material. For example, Acropora torresiana was officially named by Charlie Veron in 2000 with the type location given as the “Torres Strait”. Also complicating the issue is the fact … Continue reading Acropora torresiana

Blastopathes medusa

Author: Jeremy Horowitz Species: Blastopathes medusa Horowitz 2020 This large (> 1 m tall) and strange yet elegant and mythology-inspiring black coral is the newest addition to the Order Antipathidae. This species is described from, and dominates sandy habitats situated adjacent to patchy shallow and mesophotic coral reefs in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea. The … Continue reading Blastopathes medusa

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 … Continue reading Micromussa lordhowensis