When it comes to little known oddball corals, Gardinoseris is by far one of our super favorites with almost no known aquarium specimens in the reefing hobby. Therefore when we’re gallivanting in the parts of the Coral Triangle as we did during the Fluval Sea Flores Expedition, we ket a keen eye out for this unique coral in all its various forms.
Gardinoseris planulata can grow encrusting, submassive, spherically or even in some rare cases, into spiraling plates. The feature that makes Gardinoseris so distinctive is the honeycomb shaped corallites with radiating grooves from the central mouth that give this coral species a very special, “geologic” appearance.
While the shapes of Gardinoseris have been documented to some degree before, in our most recent encounters with Gardinoseris planulata we observed this cool coral species in several new colors. Nearly all photos of Gardinoseris are more or less light brown, grey, and occasionally light green, in the Flores Sea we were able to see some decidedly green colonies and one beautiful specimen that is actually dark brown with brighter green oral discs.
The combination of dark brown ridges and brighter green cells of the honeycomb was a striking feature of this one particular Gardinoseris colony which was beautiful in daylight, but would have been absolutely astounding under fluorescent or bluer aquarium lighting. We never expected that we would see such a striking coloration of Gardinoseris in the wild, but seeing that its part of the family Agariciidae and closely related to Agaricia, Pavona and Leptoseris, it’s even conceivable that this species may occur in a metallic orange coloration. We’ll be keeping an eye out for it that’s for sure.