Pavona clavus is a stout species of Pavona that is known to develop into huge colonies in the wild, but divers in Japan have documented the mother of all colonies, and perhaps one of the largest colonies of stony coral ever discovered. Measuring in at 17 meters wide, 24 meters long and 10 meters tall – that’s 56 by 79 feet long and three stories high – this colossal colony of Japanese Pavona clavus is bigger than some aquarium stores!
This incredibly large colony was found at a depth of 13m (43 feet) in Nagura Bay on the western region of Ishigaki Island and is the largest coral known in Japan, and probably a lot of other places too. The colony was discovered by the Yaeyama Diving Association back in 2010 and while there are other very large colonies of Pavona clavus in the vicinity, they are dwarfed by the mountain-shaped Pavona colony which is described as having a peak several meters tall.
The grandiose and stout colony shapes of Pavona clavus is partly what has precluded it from becoming a common aquarium coral although smaller and attractive green colonies are occasionally seen in reef tanks. So the next time you are with some reefers and someone is talking about a ‘mother’ or a ‘show size’ colony of dis-n-dat chalice coral which is barely the size of your hand, pull up this picture and show them that we still ain’t got nothing compared to mother nature’s OG coral colonies.