The Purple Milka Stylo aka purple polyp Stylophora is a very unusual coral. Of all the strains of birdnest (Seriatopora) cat’s paw (Stylophora) and Pocillopora that we’ve ever seen imported for the trade, many have come in tons of wild colors and colored polyps but none have ever shown the odd metallic purple polyps of the Milka Stylo.
We already knew that the Milka Stylo’s pedigree in aquarium life began at the Monaco Aquarium in France, and has been documented throughout the European aquarium hobby for over a decade. This summer while in Singapore for Aquarama we had some face time with Dr. Jean Jaubert himself, the iconic former curator of the Monaco Aquarium.
There is plenty of literature citing the Moncao Aquarium’s many expeditions to the Red Sea so we asked Dr. Jaubert point blank if the Milka Stylo came from there. After describing to him what the “Milka Stylo” was in old school terms, he scratched his chin, then his eyes lit up as he began to recognize the coral we were asking about.
To our delight, Dr. Jean Jaubert confirmed that this purple polyped Stylophora pistillata indeed was collected in the Red Sea, making it the only species of any coral available to reefers coming from this iconic coral reef ecoregion. So the next time you see a purple Milka Stylo in your or someone else’s reef tank, imagine it growing into a big colony in the Red Sea with some wild Orchid Dottybacks and purple tangs swimming about, Bicinctus clownfish hosting the anemone next door, while red pearlscale and semilarvatus butterflyfish occasionally nipping on its juicy purple polyps.