Blastomussa is a celebrated genus of stony corals in the home aquarium, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about the biodiversity of this coral group. For starters, we confused the Indo-Pacific Blastomussa for B. wellsi for many years, until the unique and wildly colorful Indonesian Blastos were described as a separate species, Blastomussa vivida.
A little while before that, a previously described and then demoted species of Blastomussa, B. loyae was ressurected as a good and valid species. While the redescription of this species did include some images of the living Blasto-loyae, it wasn’t until this weekend that we uncovered an image of this little-known species in all its glory.
You may remember the ethereal photographs of Alexander Semenov featuring otherworldy antarctic sea animals. Mr. Semenov’s photographic artistry has also been employed in the Red Sea where he composed this photo of a gorgeous Blastomussa loyae.
Blastomussa vivida and B. wellsi get the lion’s share of the aquarium attention for this genus but the lesser known B. loyae can be equally and uniquely attractive. The white ‘spokes’ contrast so nicely on the deep red oral disc, unlike any other morph of Blastomussa we’ve ever seen, and the small bright green tentacles hint at the tricolor potential of this species.
Alas, being recorded only from the Red Sea we don’t expect to see corals coming from the Red Sea anytime soon. But one can hope and dream, right?