Sinuorota is a completely new genus of disc coral which was just created for one very standout species, Cycloseris hexagonalis. It’s no secret that disc corals of the Fungiidae coral family are extremely diverse and interesting, but it turns out that some of them are more unique than initially thought.
A thorough study of disc coral genetics revealed that Cycloseris hexagonalis turned out to be very different from other Cyclos than they appeared by just looking at them. We already knew that they were curious for having a hexagon shape when small, and a ‘ragged’ edge as they get larger, which no other Cyclo exhibits.
But following the results of the genetic study, closer examination revealed a curious trait about the fine grained pattern on these corals’ septa – the ridges that radiate from the center. Anyone familiar with the archetypal disc coral has seen that there are large prominent ridges and smaller less prominent ones in between, and even less ones between those.
Well it turns out that under the microscope, you can clearly see that there is a big difference between regular Cycloseris, and the renamed Sinuorota hexagonalis. In Sinuorota the large and small ridges have small spines that are pretty much the same whereas the pattern between the large and small ridges varies a lot more in true Cycloseris.
This might seem like a semantic change of little consequence to reefers. But just like the big ecological difference, and therefore care requirements, between Cyclos and Fungias, as we become more familiar with Sinuorota we might start noticing some different behaviors, colors and growth rates from typical Cyloseris. [BioOne]