Acropora solitaryensis was once the name of an Acro so exalted, merely uttering its name around reefers would be a cause for silence. Back when all we had were fuzzy sticks, the plating Acro was the holy grail of SPS nuts everywhere. One of Tyree’s original Limited Edition corals which helped to kick off the craze in the first place is the original tricolor Acropora solitaryensis which is still available from ORA.
This summer, a new strain of the fabled Acropora solitaryensis started showing up in the aquarium trade with a deep emerald green color and a semi-branching colony shape that is definitely not Acropora efflorescens. We first sighted this unusual Acropora in Germany at the DeJong Marinelife booth wherein their massive and impressive display, there was a single piece of this coral that caught our eye despite a cornucopia of exotic coral and fish life vying for the viewer’s attention.
It was at this point that we learned that this distinctive looking Acropora was being harvested in Darwin, Australia, a place which is renowned for unusual reef life including branching Favites, Anampses lennardi and Synchiropus occidentalis. Knowing how notoriously difficult it is to source livestock from Darwin, we notified the Australian coral slingers in our contact list to keep an eye out but never really expected this coral to resurface on our home turf.
Wouldn’t you know it, last week during an LFS crawl we were surprised to see a beautiful example of the Acropora solitaryensis and some sleuthing revealed that a number of these had been imported by our local coral wholesaler, Aqua Medic Live. Interestingly, we’ll be stopping by Aqua Medic Live tomorrow on the north leg of our regional LFS crawl and we’ll see if we can dig up any more information on the emerald Acropora solitaryensis which fell into our lap after it left an impression on us half a world away.
If you’re a diehard Acropora and stony coral collector, you gotta keep a lookout for this iconic and rare solitaryensis strain. As with many other creatures from Darwin, the supply is not likely to last forever and in the future the only stock of the branching-plating Acropora solitaryensis is likely to come from captive grown frags.