The Duncan coral is one of the most distinctive, hardy and beloved of all corals which grows well in a wide range of aquarium setups. Reefers tend to think of Duncanopsammia as uniquely Australian as that is where all of the imported colonies are collected but this species was just discovered in West Papua, Indonesia greatly extending the known range of this coral in the wild.
We’ve personally observed a single colony of Duncan in Papua New Guinea right across the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef and D. axifuga has also been observed in East Timor but the discovery in eastern Indonesia is a first for the biggest archipelago in the world and one of the biggest coral exporting countries in the world.
What makes this range extension so exciting is not that we expect to start seeing wild colonies of Duncan exported from Indonesia but it does open up the possibility that this popular coral could one day be maricultured, something which has yet to even really gain traction in Australia. With all the uncertainties regarding coral collection and exporting quotas from Queensland with specific restrictions pertaining to Duncanopsammia at least there’s at least the possibility that farmed Duncans could pick up the slack if the Australian supply ever dried up.
The population of Duncans was discovered in murky water around fifteen feet deep on a sediment-rich, inshore reef at Bird’s Head Peninsula, not the kind of dive site that is popular with SCUBA divers which could help to explain why it took so long to add Duncanopsammia to the huge list of corals from Indonesia. Since the species has already been documented in East Timor it’s almost certain that further exploration of mucky inshore reefs in Southern and Eastern Indonesia would reveal more examples of this wonderful coral living outside of Australia. Who knows, these far flung examples of Duncanopsammia from Indonesia might even exhibit different colors and growth forms than reefers are used to, only time will tell. [MDPI]