Australomussa rowleyensis is not quite a chalice coral, not quite an LPS and although it once was just an unusual curiosity that was sometime spotted in shipments from Indo and Australia, this amazing crop of Australomussa from Timor Indonesia is a whole new animal. It’s amazing how this species has been out there all this time, occasionally popping up with moderate to decent coloration and all of a sudden someone found out there was an Australomussa party in Timor and they decided to harvest more beautiful and colorful specimens of this distinct species for all the world to enjoy. And by all the world we mean those with enough dough to afford this wave of A. rowleys’ which will all be offered up in the $300 tp $500 pricing neighborhood for first dibs at the reds and the pinks. If you think the specimens above are gorgeous, you ain’t seen nothing yet because there’s literally dozens more pictures waiting for you after the break
For years the true identity of Australomussa rowleyensis has often been mistaken with colonies of Scolymia vitiensis. And indeed Veron warns us that colonies of S. vitiensis are more solitary at high latitudes but may develop multiple corallites at low latitudes near the euator which may resemble Australomussa. Normally it takes a very seasoned coral-slinging eyeball to tell apart Australomussa from S. vitiensis but there’s no mistaking these Timor corals for anything other than good card-carrying members of the Australomussa species. Even if Australomussa is distinct from Scolymia and their kin, we have kept this species many times in different types of reef tanks and they do prefer more subdued environment with moderate flow and moderate light. Any reefer who tries to keep this species in conventional high light and flow will soon find themselves with a bleached out and unhappy Australomussa. Like other LPS corals, Australomussa will appreciate regular target feeding of each polyp but don’t expect the same kind of quick feeding response like you get from some ravenous Scolymia specimens.
This wave of Australomussa rowleyensis from Timor Indonesia may have just arrived earlier this week but it seems to have hit several major retailers at once. First out the gate is Blue Zoo Aquatics which has listed a few specimen like the one pictured above and are already available in the Blue Zoo Aquatics Collector’s Choice for princely sums. Around the same time one of our sponsors LiveAquaria landed the primo specimens below and they have chosen to more thoroughly acclimate and condition these light sensitive and bleaching-susceptible corals; the specimen in the bottom right of the image may look psychedelic but it could be showing the intense fluorescent colors due to a moderate bleaching of it’s zooxanthellae. Either way, LiveAquaria will release these Australomussa in the Diver’s Den when they are good and ready. We should soon be seeing these new chalicey, LPSey corals pop up at finer coral vendors all over the country so now you can amaze your LFS with your knowledge of this coral which even they have likely rarely seen. Huge thanks to Kris Wray of Blue Zoo Aquatics for first bringing these corals to our attention, many of the Australomussa collage pictures are from Neptune Aquatics, and our other reefing friends who helped us get the full lowdown on the interesting Australomussa rowleyensis.
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