Tubastraea megacorallita is a fitting name for a coral that has been recognized in the aquarium for its very large polyps and accompanying corallites and has earned a very fitting common name. The ‘Fat Head’ Dendro has long been rumored in the aquarium hobby to come from Hong Kong and now an official description of this species sheds some light on this unique and enigmatic coral.
The type specimens of Tubastraea megacorallita were collected in 17 meters or just 55 feet of water, so not that deep, at an uninhabited island called Breaker Reef just East of Hong Kong but the paper does mention that this colonies of this newly described species are also known from Kii-Nagashima, Japan. Besides having namesake very large corallites one other unique attribute about T. megacorallita is that it has elliptical corallites with T. aurea being the only other species of Tubastrea without neat circular corallites.
The original description for Tubastraea megacorallita is light on details of this new species beyond genetic analysis, but the researchers spent a good deal of the paper discussing the nudibranch that prey on the Fat Head Dendro and similar azooxanthellate coral species. We feel like there’s some very similar Azoox corals from Japan which may already have a proper species name but at least we have a starting point for discussing and analyzing the coral that the hobby has long known as the Fat Head Dendro, where it occurs, and its biology.