For the last twenty years a certain subset of wild corals have been deemed to be ‘limited edition’, but since these come from the boundless ocean, how limited could they be? Well today we have what is perhaps one of the first, legitimately limited edition corals ever presented to the aquarium hobby.
This sensational Acropora tenuis is a captive bred colony from the Horniman Museum which is the result of two different gametes that settled right next to each other, and have grown into a coral chimera. We’ve talked about chimeras a reasonable amount over the years, these being most obvious in some disc corals, but occasionally also seen in unusual wild Acropora colonies and we’ve even got an Australomussa in the mix.
This dual Acropora tenuis colony is so closely intertwined that it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. If both genotypes had been of the same color it would look just like a regular small branched Acro. However since the genotypes exhibit different colors a couple very neat things are going on that we can easily see.
For starters you can see that one side of the colony is mostly yellow, while the other side is a luscious deep purple. However, there’s now swirls and small patches of yellow-green fluorescent pigment that is propagating in the purple side of this Tenuis Acro. We’ve seen this plenty of times before in ‘grafted’ or protein-infected colonies of aquarium coral strains like the straight jacket, WWC Cap and many others over the years.
Granted, the pattern of green fluorescent protein distributed in the purple region is quite random and dare we say artistic. If we continue on our current trajectory of success with keeping coral, and begin breeding corals at the hobbyist level, this is the future of limited edition corals, with captive bred corals ‘created’ by reef hobbyists which will be very unique compared to what is normally seen in wild corals.
Big ups to Dr. Jamie Craggs and his sexy coral crew over at the Horniman Museum for pushing the boundaries of the aquarium culture of corals, and opening a new frontier for reefers to look forward to.