The second we saw this Chalice Coral we knew we had to feature it, and when we spoke to industry legend Chris Meckley, owner at ACI, he agreed that it’s a coral that needs further celebration. An Indonesian Echinophyllia, probably E.aspera, Chris told us it came from Makassar in South Sulawesi, 900 miles East of Jakarta. It’s only 3”x3” across and, as you might expect, it sold as soon as it was added to ACI’s WYSIWYG section.
In terms of its anatomy, this stunner has all the hallmarks of an Echinophyllia, with its irregularly shaped and oriented corallites, but the bright orange mouths of the polyps are ringed in concentric circles, first in blue and then in black, on a bed of orange tissue that glows like molten metal. There are tiny tints of green, yellow, and purple bleeding out from some of the polyps, but what makes it all the more special is the green top section of the colony, which looks like it’s going to be engulfed by the lava-like orange.
We asked Chris if he’d named it, but just like our dearly departed Managing Editor Jake Adams (a great friend of Chris and fellow coral appreciator,) he said he hates made-up trade names and sold it simply as “Echinophyllia.” We both agreed Jake would have loved this coral and big respect to Chris for keeping it real regarding its naming. Corals will never cease to amaze us.