Stony corals get the lion’s share of attention when corals are discussed in general, but you know we’ve got lots of love for the Octocorals and we’re pleased to learn of a brand new genus in this group. Anastromvos is the new generic home for two new species of leather corals described from northwest Australia with a particularly capitate appearance.
Anastromvos catherinae & A. aldersladei are the first two species in this genus which is most closely related to Sarcophyton and Lobophytum leather corals and are shaped more like toadstool mushrooms than our beloved ‘Sarcos’. The upper capitulum and lower stalk are strongly differentiated compared to the leather corals we’re used to with the stalk being more narrow and the top being kind of hard.
The new genus was discovered in on Ripple Shoals South of Barrow Island and Cape Voltaire, Kimberley, Western Australia so with several coral collectors operating in the vicinity of Darwin there’s a chance they might have already collected this coral for the aquarium hobby.
Unfortunately there are no living images of either of the new species of Anastromvos so we’ll have to wait to see what this coral really looks like. Pictured in the lead image is a related species Malacacanthus from South Africa. There’s also no mention of whether these new leather corals are photosynthetic or not but since A. aldersladei was collected in 20 meters of water and A. catherinae was found living intertidally in full sunlight we presume that there’s a good chance these are light loving soft corals. [CSIRO]