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Our Favorite New Species of Corals in 2013





2013 was the year when we saw a few new species of corals being defined. Some made quite an impression with their uniqueness while the others were found to be too closely related to the already known species to be recognized that easily. Though we are not that they will make it to the aquarium trade or not yet they did make quite an appearance. Below are some of our favorite new species of coral that got their recognition in 2013.

1. Balanopsammia wirtzi

Balanopsammia wirtzi is found to dwell in well flowed intertidal pools and shallow rocky reefs down to a depth of 10m (33 feet). The new Azoox coral has been established budding in a few different regions of the Cape Verde Islands of West Africa including Sao Tiago Island and Sal Island. Colonies of the Balanopsammia are moderately colonial, forming clusters of up to 15 corallites that can have living tissue in pink, reddish and orange. The color pattern is bright and will add a new envy to your tank if added amongst the rest of the corals. If you are bored of the same pattern and colors of the tank, this species could be your new guest of entertainment.

2. Favia camranensis

A new species of coral, Favia camranensis sp. n., from the Hon Nai reef, Cam Ranh Bay, in southern Vietnam is described. This coral differs from all known faviids in that its corallites project one above another by more than 2 mm. The septa and septa-costae are heavily ornamented with complexly serrated trabecular spines. This coral can form monospecific aggregations of 5–20 colonies. Favia camranensis is a new species of moon brain coral recently described by Yuri Latypov from colonies discovered in Vietnam. Found living in monospecific aggregations of five to twenty colonies at Hon Nai Reef in Cam Ranh Bay, Favia camaranensis differs from all known faviids in that its corallites project one above another by more than 2 mm.

3. Cryptophyton jedsmithi

The holotype consists of approximately eighty-five polyps arising from flattened basal stolons. The stolons encrust a piece of dead cheilostomatid bryozoan, 32 mm long by 20 mm wide. The surface of the bryozoan is interspersed with several calcareous tubes of a serpulid polychaete. Anthosteles are moundlike, rounded, and hemispherical to subcylindrical. Anthocodiae are mostly retracted within the anthosteles, although a few are emergent. The anthosteles are approximately equal in height and diameter, mostly 1–1.4 mm. Sclerites of the coenencyme and anthosteles resemble spiny balls or stellate bodies with projecting processes in three dimensions; 0.05 – 0.10 mm long. Sclerites are absent from the anthocodiae and polyp bodies. The anthosteles are pale orange and the anthocodiae are white. Wet-preserved holotype: stolons and anthosteles light grayish white, while the emergent anthocodiae are white.

4. Echinophyllia tarae

A new shallow water scleractinian coral species, Echinophyllia tarae is described from the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. It is characterized by an encrusting corallum, a few large and highly variable corallites with protruding walls, and distinctive costosepta. This coral was observed in muddy environments where several colonies showed partial mortality and re-growth. The new species has morphological affinities with both Echinophyllia echinata and with Echinomorpha nishihirai, from which it can be distinguished on the basis of the diameter and the protrusion of the largest corallite, the thickness of the septa, and the development of the size of the crown of paliform lobes.

5. Ctenactic triangularis

A new species of scleractinian coral Ctenactis triangularis in the family Fungiidae has been described from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This species has a triangular arm shaped corallum with the mouth extending along all three arms. Septal dentition is long, cylindrical, equally sized and closely arranged. Numerous pits on the costae and costal spines are spinulose. Ctenactis triangularis has an affinity with three species namely, Ctenactis echinata, Ctenactis crassa, and Ctenactis albitentaculata, thus the morphological features have been compared with these three species. The new species which belongs to the family of mushroom corals, adds a fourth member to the Ctenactis genus of corals.