The eraser tip shaped branch ends of Acropora abrolhosensis are iconic to our memory of the early days of SPS coral keeping. A nice fuzzy staghorn A. abrolhosensis is one of the most classic and recognizable corals that many reefing pioneers ever grew at a great clip, and it was such a real privilege to finally see one of our favorite Acro species in the wild.
The Fluval Sea Flores Expedition was such a prolific voyage and it was great to see exotic corals as well as the fuzzy staghorn which holds such a special place in our reefing heart. The colony of Acropora abrolhosensis we documented was living in very shallow water of a relatively protected reef at a depth of just 8 feet during high tide.
We imagine that this region of the habitat does experience moderate strong flow during tidal water shifts but unless there’s a storm, the wave action is usually fairly dampened on this part of the beginning of the reef flat. Our observation of the fuzzy staghorn acro in the wild line sup well with the “Lagoons or reef slopes protected from strong wave action” habitat description given in Veron’s Corals of the World.
What was most special about encountering the purple color of Acropora abrolhosensis is that it looked exactly like it does in an aquarium. Sure a minor degree of fluorescence was missing without a rainbow of disco blue lighting dominating the spectrum but even in broad bright daylight, the colors of this fuzzy staghorn shone through. Seeing the fuzzy branches and big flat eraser tip of this coral in Flores, on the other side of the world, reminded us of every time we’ve admired a nice aquarium-grown colony of this species.