Acropora microclados is a wide ranging species of stony coral that is better known to aquarists via the “Strawberry Shortcake”. However, last month while diving all around Kwajalein Atoll we came across a striking new strain of this iconic coral which we nicknamed the “Ebeye Special” in honor of the locals who supported our diving adventure.
The Ebeye Special Acro develops into a horizontal pillow shape colony like its shortcake counterpart, but it’s the color palette of the Ebeye Special which will really grab your attention. While the now-classic Strawberry Shortcake is a yellow coral with reddish pink corallites, the Ebeye Special tends toward being a brilliant red color with fluorescent green corallites, and fantastic blue growth margin.
This Ebeye Special variant of A. microclados shows a range of colors from fully tricolored, to mostly blue with green corallites, to an all red strain with a rich color brilliant enough to be on par with the Red Planet Acro. We could see SPS enthusiasts collecting all three strains of the Ebeye Special and growing them together to great effect, but this will ultimately depend on whether farmed corals are ever exported from Kwajalein.
As you may have gathered from our Kwajalein travelogue, we’ve seen many incredible new corals and strains during our diving in this region of Micronesia. While we are excited about the oddballs like the Red Devil Acro and Acropora rongelapensis the Ebeye Special Acro was certainly one of the most beautiful corals we “discovered” so hopefully it can help to generate momentum in the creation and development of a proposed coral farm in Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands.