RSS Kwajalein’s Montipora sp. “likatu” comes in three different polyps colors

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  1. MASA Admin

    MASA Admin Moderator

    8 May 2007
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    Kajalein Atoll is a veritable paradise of SPS corals, and if you couldn’t tell already, there’s plenty of Acropora to go around. But we’re not leaving out the unique Montis of the Central Pacific region, it’s just taken us a while to get to them.

    [​IMG]A close up of the green polyp form of this unknown Montipora species

    First up for the most notable*Montipora*we sighted in the Marshall Islands is an unknown species we are provisionally calling Montipora sp. “likatu”,*but only because we pored over all the referrences and couldn’t find a suitable species match, and ‘Likatu’ being Marshallese for ‘pretty girl’. This particular*Montipora*species was one of the most visible species in the genus we sighted at Kwajalein Atoll, and it comes in no fewer than three color strains that we are aware of, so far.

    [​IMG]The colony of the only green polyp ligatu Montipora sighted

    Montipora*”likatu” grows into an encrusting and submassive colony shape, with a distinct covering of papillae that coalesce into little mounds in the older parts of the colony. The most frequently sighted color morph of*Montipora*’likatu’ is the orange-brown strain with bright pink polyps and a white growing edge. Very rarely did these colonies create plates, except in very sheltered areas of the reef but you can always tell it apart by the unique pattern of small papillae and the fuzzy appearance it gives the surface of the coral.

    [​IMG]The pink polyp form of Montipora sp. “likatu” is the most commonly seen color morph

    We only spent a little bit of time with the green polyp form of*Montipora*sp. ‘Likatu’ but the real home run in this variable*Montipora*species is the purple polyp form which also develops a neon orange growing edge. We couldn’t believe the brilliance of the purple-polyp, orange growth margin*Montipora*sp. ‘likatu’ and how bright this coral looks in full sunlight – we just can’t wait to get a cultured piece of each of these colors of this particular*Montipora, grow them together in an aquarium and enjoy how their appearance adapts and changes under aquarium conditions and lighting.

    [​IMG]The blue polyp Montipora sp. “likatu” also sports a gorgeous orange growing edge

    [​IMG]The appearance of the large submassive Montipora sp. “likatu” in its purple polyp form

    [​IMG]The blue polyp form of this unknown Montipora species

    [​IMG]pink polyp Montipora sp. “likatu” has a white growth margin

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