Branching Leptoseris gardineri is a very unusual species of this now-popular genus which we have drooled over in books and photographs for over a decade. In pictures it seems so delicate and brittle that we long relegated this species to being impossible to ship in a single piece, giving up on it as a “book coral” that we’ll only ever see from afar.
So imagine our delight when we spotted some really distinctive branching Leptoseris at Sea Dwelling Creatures this week and the build was not at all like we expected. Instead of being a delicate little leafy Leptoseris, branching L. gardineri is actually much larger in structure than we ever imagined, and it’s sturdy too!
A handful of branching Leptoseris gardineri made its way from Australia to SDC’s Furnace of hot corals, with a few specimens arriving in a light brown and a muted green color. At first glance the branching Leptoseris looks kind of like a wavy form of branching Pavona cactus, a species similar to ORA’s mint chip Pavona, but the surface detail reveals very few, much larger corallites that are well pronounced.
The newly imported colonies of the branching Leptoseris look like, newly imported stony coral colonies, that is a little pale and a little thin of tissue. In their current condition Leptoseris gerdineri doesn’t look like a potential showstopper, but once it’s settled in, lookout! With a few colonies to go around we very much look forward to seeing what this highly unusual coral can do in a captive aquarium ecosystem, we’ll be sure to follow up with this species. (And for those of you who like to shop SDC’s Furnace, check out T48 and S46)