The bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) is a beautiful species of large polyp stony coral which is very photogenic. We found this bubble coral in Raja Ampat and used a Nikon Coolpix P7100 with a single SeaLife Digital pro flash to get the shot.
Bubble corals are found everywhere from the Red Sea to Southeast Asia,
In the day time the bubble coral will be open with large inflated vesicles and at night the vesicles retract and pointed feeder tentacles emerge. You will find bubble corals living on vertical wall, on the side of rocky reefs or in flat turbid reef environments.
For macro lovers, bubble corals will commonly host a symbiotic coral shrimp called a bubble coral shrimp or Vir philippinensis. The tiny shrimp can grow to about half an inch long and is transparent with purple lines on their legs and dark red antennae.
Like most symbiotic crustaceans, the shirmp will be found living in pairs inside the host bubble coral. These shrimp are very discrete during the day and can be seen mostly at night.
There are different types of bubble corals, including several different species. Bubble corals can be found as large single colonies or a group of branching bubbles making up a larger colony. The bubbles can be large and smooth or small with a tear drop or pearl shape, bubble corals can also have pleated edges or flower shape like the fox bubble coral.
There are lots of beautiful details in the bubble coral vesicles which make for a great photography subject. Plus they stay in one place so you can line up the shot and practice using strobes or underwater exposure. Next time your diving take a look around for a bubble coral and spend a few minute searching for any tiny symbiotic partners.