By now we are well accustomed to Australian gold torch corals, Euphyllia glabrescens, and we’d almost started to forget the colonies we used to get from Indonesia. In the land down under, Gold torches are shallow water, cryptic corals, living in holes and cavity on top of bommies in the very shallow water.
In Indonesia, I’ve been told by quite a few fishermen that there used to be in some places, some shallow water reefs made of gold torch coral. Kilometers long, less than 10 feet deep, few feet across, torch reefs made of one single species. These used to be on the shallow shore of islands located in straits, and right in the middle of the tidal pumping zone.
Unfortunately these ‘El Dorado Reefs’ are long gone, they were the first to go when locals needed access for their boat, started farming seaweed, needed building material for their houses, and the first occurrences of bleaching. If the metallic green torches were more common in Indo, while almost impossible to find in Oz, there are few parts in Indonesia were the golds are more common than the green.
Perfect Indo gold torch coral habitat:
All this to show you a deep water gold torch, that was really glowing in the dark, on an Indonesian reef. We thought we would share the pictures with you, as it’s always interesting to know what our corals look like in their natural environment?
This deep water, high flow reef, with a top located in about 15 m (45 ft), was pretty much bare on the top, due to the recent bleaching, but some few spots, located in channels below were really healthy. Flying down above the reef, we could spot this small, half a dozen polyps, young colony from a long distant, really like a torch glowing in the dark.
It was living in 25-30 m (75-90 ft) of water, on a small channel wall, in a good current back eddy ledge, just as the channel was getting wider. Swimming down there, we could see this was the right spot for corals to settle in. A bit lower flow, food thrown at them for most of the day, few hours of washing flow on the incoming tides. In short, this place is the perfect coral little paradise, but quite an exhausting swim to get to.
Other clues on torches:
We are used to see gold torch in Indonesia, but usually, the one which we find in shallower water don’t have the perfect pure gold color. Tentacles are half colored, or just with gold reflection. the most common ones are the orange tips, green center ones, the half green, then the metallic green, and sometime the gold.
Another hint on what kind of habitat your corals come from is the size of polyps. I have noticed that small polyp/small corallite E. glabrescens with thin tentacles usually come from very high flow area. And they do enjoy quite a bit of water movement which is quite remarkable, considering the size of their tentacles.
Meanwhile the ‘fat head torches’ come from more protected area, usually protected within the reef, in a high flow area. They are found protected in crevices, behind or below bommies, under another bigger coral… So it is for the classic cryptic Aussie fathead gold torch, that live in shallow water crevices.