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Order Scleractinia, Dyed Corals,
/The Best Livestock For Your Reef Aquarium:
Brain, Meat, Pineapple
Corals, Family Mussidae, Pt. 1
To: Part 2,
3, Part 4,
By Bob Fenner
ishgakiensis and Lobophyllium
Family Mussidae Ortmann 1890.
Variously called Meat and Brain corals for obvious common
characteristics: large "meaty" polyps, wandering valley-like
arrangement of corallites like the sulci of grey matter. All have
distinctive thick columellae and corallite walls with toothed
Thirteen genera. Eight in the Indo-Pacific, four in the Atlantic and
Scolymia which is found in both the Atlantic and Pacific
|Selection: Take care to examine prospective purchases
carefully. Avoid those with obvious damage, such as skeletal
breaks, algae growing on exposed parts of the skeleton as showing
in the Lobophyllia at right.
Other than the genera Acanthastrea, Scolymia and Lobophyllia, not
much used in the aquarium interest... due to slow growth, stinging
propensity (my mesenterial filaments). Not hard to keep... most
requiring not much light, water circulation. Need to be wide-spaced
from other sedentary invertebrates. Though all are hermatypic,
photosynthetic, most are voracious feeders of meaty foods.
Genus Acanthastrea Milne Edwards and Haime 1848. Typically
are made up of flat colonies that are either massive or encrusting.
Corallites as individual circles to elongate in structure. Septa with
tall, thick teeth.
|Acanthastrea echinata (Dana 1846) Pineapple
Coral. Circular colonies tat are typically boulder-like. Septa with
long, pointed teeth (most easily seen in live specimens). Brown,
green to brightly colored. The most common member of the genus,
though this one not all that often seen. Maldives photo and
|Acanthastrea faviaformis (Veron 2000).
Distinctive septa-costae with thick teeth. All dirty brown in
color. Upper Red Sea photo.
|Acanthastrea hillae Wells 1955. Encrusting
usually. Colonies to more than five feet in diameter, with
irregular shaped corallites. Contrasting colored walls and oral
discs. Bunaken, Sulawesi, Indonesia pix.
|Acanthastrea ishigakiensis Veron 1990.
Hemispherical, small boulder-like colonies up to a foot and a half
in width. Most are blue-grey in color with oral discs of
contrasting color. Usually fleshy in appearance. Colonies in
Bunaken/Sulawesi/Indonesia, Pulau Redang, Malaysia and the Gulf of
Aqaba, Red Sea below.
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies.
Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Genus Blastomussa Wells 1961. Colonies are phaceloid (polyps
on separate column-like branches growing from a common center). or
subplocoid (polyps having a gap between them or at least not fused at
their walls). Fleshy to the point of not being able to make out
corallite characteristics when live. Septa with lobed teeth that slope
to oral discs. Compare with the faviid genus Caulastrea whose polyps
lack lobed teeth and lack fleshy mantles. Prefer low light and
|Blastomussa merleti Wells 1961. Small
corallites Under 7mm. in diameter). Septa in two cycles, the larger
looking like white teeth. Mantles generally greatly expanded by day
(tentacles out only at night). Aquarium images. Easily
fragmented. A synonym of B. loyae according to Veron,
|Blastomussa wellsi Wijsman-Best 1973.
Pineapple Coral. Phaceloid colonies. Polyps 9-14 mm. in diameter.
Numerous colors, often with contrasting centers. Here under culture
at Dick Perrin's Tropicorium and in an aquarium.