Seems like we are treated to new species of reef fish on a regular basis but new descriptions of stony and soft corals are much fewer and far between. The latest of these coral discoveries is Echinophyllia tarae, a new species of chalice coral with a prominent central corallite that distinguishes it from other species of Echinophyllia.
The new Echinophyllia tarae was discovered in the South Pacific Ocean, in the Gambier Archipelago of French Polynesia. Like other chalice corals the new Tara chalice is predominantly found in somewhat sheltered areas, well protected from hard wave action, but also prone to sedimentation as many of the corals sighted had suffered some recession from partial burial.
Unlike many other recent stony coral descriptions, with Echinophyllia tarae we are treated to a slew of pictures of the living corals as well as plenty of up close skeleton pictures. Echinophyllia tarae most closely resembles the also spiny Echinophyllia echinata but the new species has much more pronounced septa formation and detail. The new Tara chalice coral is not likely to show up in any LFS but the new description hints that there are still many more new species of coral to be described, we just need more coral scientists to travel the world and seek them out. [Live Science]