An overlooked 2003 publication describing few new species of corals from Sabah, Malaysia, on the northern tip of the Borneo island, shed lights on a commonly available bubble coral species for many years from Indonesia, and finally put a name on it.
Part on this description is the new species of bubble coral, Plerogyra diabolotus, that we’ve known for few decades as ‘Octo-Bubble’ and it’s great that sciences can finally put a name on it. The name ‘diabolotus’ refers to the ear-like lobed oral disc lined with pointed outgrowths resembling a devil’s ear. The name might change as peoples are digging into collection to find specimen and might come up with an already described specimen.
The teardrop octo-bubble coral, has been imported from Indonesia (until they stopped shipping last year) for almost three decades. It is a very common coral collected in the southern Sulawesi waters with colorations ranging from brown to blue and green. The Phacelo-meandroid narrow skeleton, with fragile, thin exert septa are pretty obvious to set apart but most reefers will notice the ‘nipple’ on each vesicle of this bubble coral.
Another very similar species has also been described as Plerogyra multilobata, with a skeleton resembling very much the one of Nemenzophyllia turbida. And the difference between these two genera seems to be very blurred. The skeletons of the two new species P. diabolotus and P. multilobata cannot be distinguished from each other although multilobata is, on average, somewhat smaller in all structures.
However, in both species the polyps are quite distinct. The latest having shaft shaped vesicles with a distinct row of 3-7 bulbs along the upper edge, very different from the teardrop shape of the P. diabolotus. Thanks to Julian Sprung for bringing this publication to our attention.