RSS Australophyllia is the new home of ‘Symphyllia’ wilsoni

MASA Admin

8 May 2007
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Australophyllia wilsoni is the new name for what we currently call Symphyllia wilsoni. We’ve always known that there was something special about Australophyllia wilsoni, from it smorphology, polyp appearance on from where in the world it comes from.

Compared to other Symphyllia, the coral formerly known as ‘Symphyllia wilsoni’ is much brighter, more colorful and much more convoluted than other Symphyllia. Some colonies and frags of Australophyllia wilsoni have a lot more in common with Acan Lords and it also shares some peculiarities too.

The unique color and pattern of Austrlophyllia wilsoni is much more similar to Acan Lords and Micromussa than to Symphyllia

For starters, Australophyllia is not the easiest coral to keep long term. Sure Australophyllia does well in an aquarium in the short term, like many other generic LPS. But there’s a reason that captive grown frags of Australophyllia rarely make it past the first or second generation cutting, and that is because this coral can suffer from recession due to injury. While most other corals can recover quickly from such damage, Symphyllia Australophyllia wilsoni tends to slowly recede from points of mechanical damage.

The unusual Australophyllia wilsoni is found only in the Indian Ocean

Australophyllia comes to use exclusively from the West Coast of Australia, which is smack dab in Indian Ocean territory making this the only coral that we enjoy in the hobby from this particular ocean. Furhtermore, Australophyllia is one of the few known ‘tropical’ stony corals which is commonly found growing among kelp forests, so clearly there’s something different about this coral.

Now we know, that not only based on aquaristic hunch and the unique habitat and geography of Wilsoni coral, that it is indeed special and now resides in its own genus, Australophyllia. The new name and taxonomic change is part of an ongoing effort to clean up the stony coral tree of life and is part of a major overhaul of LPS coral taxonomy in a forthcoming paper by Arrigoni et. al. to be published some time this year.

Australophyllia wilsoni is the only tropical coral we know of that is regularly found living near kelp forest habitats.

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