We think we’ve seen a wide variety of chalice corals in the aquarium hobby but there’s still plenty of diversity left for us to discover from wild corals. Mycedium mancaoi is a very unusual species of chalice coral which develops plates that tend towards branching – a branching chalice coral.
While we’ve never seen Mycedium mancaoi in the aquarium hobby, we came across this beautiful example of the branching chalice coral while diving in Raja Ampat, Indonesia a few years back. The colony may simply be light brown with pale oral discs aka ‘eyes’, it inconceivable that other strains of this coral couldn’t be space invader green with yellow, orange or pink mouths.
Finding new colors and strains of the branching chalice coral M. mancaoi is somewhat contingent on getting access to exports from the Coral Triangle framed between Bali in the West, Solomon Islands in the West and the Philippines in the North. It’s quite possible that the branching chalice coral is already present in the reefing hobby but simply hasn’t been recognized, or grown out large enough, or given the conditions it prefers to develop this sweet branching growth form.