RSS Medusa Montipora hirsuta from Sustainable Aquatics

MASA Admin

8 May 2007
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Sustainable Aquatics is renowned for high quality captive bred fish, and has been in the spotlight for the recent release of the hobby’s first ever longfin clownfish strain. What you may not know about Sustainable Aquatics is that they also grow a small assortment of soft and stony corals.

The unusual Montipora hirsuta straddles the growth forms of M. stellata and M. hispida.

We normally wouldn’t bat an eye at an ornamental fish farm growing a few corals here and there, but at ReefAPalooza New York we spotted a very intriguing coral in their booth aquarium that we’re just dying to grow out ourselves. Going by the name of “Medusa” Montipora, apparently this particular strain has been kicking around for some time, particularly in the U.K.

Another look at the unusual branching-plates or plating branches of Montipora hirsuta

The Medusa Montipora strain is most likely a Montipora hirsuta and part of the reason we’ve never really noticed it before is that this species really grows a blend of branching and plating morphologies. When it is more branching this species looks like the uber common Elkhorn Montipora, Montipora stellata which grows mostly branching with a little bit of plate formation. When this species is tending towards more plating growth forms it more closely resembles Montipora hispida, a cool strain of Monti that’s been kicking around the trade for over a decade.

Again, this particular Montipora hirsuta Medusa coral strain has been around, but we’ve never really given it the attention it deserves because we usually assumed it was one of the other two closely related species of Montipora. Now that we’ve got this new branchy-plating Montipora bug, we’re going to set out to get all three species and grow them side by side for the ultimate comparison.

The Elkhorn Montipora, M. stellata, pictured here by Marc Levenson with strong development of plating growth.

The elkhorn monti seen here grown by ORA with mostly branching growth.

The very similar looking Montipora hispida tends to grow more plating skeleton with less branch development.

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