The stony coral genus Euphyllia includes at least nine species that each display a staggering degree of diversity, but it seems like there’s still a few corals out there which don’t fit the mold for what is already known and documented for the species. In the spotlight today is this peculiar thin-branching Euphyllia recently collected in Cairns Australia which is unlike any of the corals we know about.
The Cairns thin branch Euphyllia is not quite as thin branching as the miniature Euphyllia baliensis, nor does it show the ‘octameral’ symmetry of E. baliensis with an internal body plan arranged in cycles of four. Furthermore, you can see the Cairns thin branching Euphyllia is dwarfed compared to the branch thickness of typical branching hammer coral, Euphyllia parancora, pictured together in the image below.
Euphyllia is a very popular genus of stony corals in aquariums, and the only thing that keeps this species from completely taking over is that they grow large and fast and are not good long term residents of nano reef tanks. However with more species like Baliensis and this thin branching Cairns Euphyllia popping up, we may someday see some strains in the aquarium hobby that propagate with branches almost as thin as Acros.
This exceptionally thin branching Euphyllia was collected in Cairns Australia by Salty Pets around 75 feet deep. This coral’s habitat is not particularly out of reach of collectors, so hopefully we’ll soon get a chance to examine this unique coral in person.