Truncatoflabellum is a genus of Azoox corals so obscure, and rarely documented (alive), that we never had hope of seeing specimens in our aquariums. Thankfully, Cairns Marine, purveyor of so much exotic marine life from Australia has scored again by bringing this unseen coral to the surface.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at a Truncatoflabellum skeleton from the side, but this weirdly appressed corallite actually belies a bouquet of sparkling coral tentacles. The reason for this oddly squished coral body plan is that it lives partly buried in mud or silt, with its nonphotosynthetic tissue extended to catch passing prey items.
Cairns Marine collected a few of these oddball Azoox corals, tentatively identified as Truncatoflabellum veroni, in an equally strange habitat. The ‘Trunk Coral’ was discovered not all that deep, in a silty, muddy bottom habitat at a depth between 15 and 20 meters (49 to 69 feet) deep. The unique adaptation of the Trunk Coral allowed to to live in a habitat where no other corals were observed, although in an extremely low density of corals per area.
The rare Truncatoflabellum joins a very elite group of large, solitary NPS Corals which command almost mythical status in reef aquariums. Flabellum, Javania and Rhizotrochus are the other large polyped, solitary NPS to grace our photosynthetic reef tanks, with Hanapapa’s masterpiece so far being the only ode to this peculiar group of corals. Along similar lines, the Walking Dendro or Knuckle Coral Heteropsammia is also an unusual mud-loving LPS coral but this species is granted the power of photosynthesis by a resident symbiotic algae population.
Despite the extreme rarity of this coral species, a few specimens of Truncatoflabellum have been shipped to Unique Corals and will be available for sale for a relatively mild price of under $300. If you are an NPS or Azoox coral junky, you definitely cannot miss this opportunity to fill out your Azoox coral biotope and hopefully, this won’t be the last we see of the unusual Trunk Coral from Cairns Marine or Australia in general.