Leptoseris kalayaanensis grows into a plate of spines and spikes

By on Jan 22, 2013

It wouldn’t be a proper week of reef aquarium blogging here on Reef Builders if we didn’t bring your attention to a new exotic species of Leptoseris, L. kalayaanensis. Described in 2009 from the Philippines and subsequently also observed growing in the South China Sea, Leptoseris kalayaanensis looks like no other species of stony coral.

Except for Leptoseris tubbulifera we cannot picture any corals with such a regular pattern of knobby spikes and spines looking very much like a flattened out dog toy. The light colored growing edge and spike tips give great contrast to even the brown coral pictured alive in the above photograph, but can you imagine what that would look like in standard-issue Leptoseris orange or green?

Although only known to grow in areas where corals are safe from aquarium collectors, there’s still some hope of encountering this Leptoseris kalayaanensis in aquaria. We’ve kind of gotten used to writing off ever seeing exotic species of marine life with uncooperative distribution ranges still make it into aquarium culture, either through wild harvesting or mariculture.

If Vietnam mushroom anemones and some Acan Lords have trickled into the reef aquarium trade then you never know one day we may encounter Leptoseirs kalayaanensis sunning under LEDs.

Leptoseris kalayaanensis-close Leptoseris kalayaanensis

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