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Leather Coral (Lobophytum?) | by Lucas Thompson
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Leather Coral (Lobophytum?)

We've been trying to figure out what genus/species this little leather frag is. It came on a frag plug with a Sarcophyton sp. frag but they're looking less and less related every week.

 

We're guessing the genus is most likely Lobophytum, and the species some sort of "Devil's Hand" coral: L. pauciflorum or L. compactum. I'm leaning towards L. compactum based just on visual inspection, though, in particular the white tips and sparse distribution of the primary polyps (autozooids) in comparison to the large number of secondary, circulating polyps (siphonozooids); you can see these secondary polyps in the picture, they are the tiny "bumps" all over the surface of the coral between the primary polyps.

 

If anyone has a better guess than L. compactum please feel free to post it in a comment!

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Taken on November 12, 2006