Popular corals in the wild!

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hds4216

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Hey all! Thought it would be cool to make a thread on some popular corals in the wild. They are some really interesting ones, and I think it's really neat to see some popular species in their natural habitats.

ehb6krjxf7j61.jpg

First, here's a pretty famous one. This is a torch coral at low tide. Taken in the Maldives. One thing you'll notice in these pics: without the blues of our light systems, corals tend to appear a lot less colorful. The natural sunlight changes their appearance.

Great-Barrier-Reef-2019-Coral-spawn-credit-Pablo-Cogollos.jpeg

Here's a really cool pic of a mass coral spawning event that occurred in 2019 on the great barrier reef. Scientists photographed it and collected samples of the sex cells so that they can raise them in labs. This gives them info on the corals lifecycle and development, and helps them find ways to better protect the reefs.

01530132.jpg
unnamed (1).jpg

Here are some older ones, this is an elegance coral, Catalaphyllia jardinei. Once common in the hobby and known as fairly hardy LPS, most now come with a fatal disease known unofficially as Elegance Coral Syndrome, which greatly limits their lifespan. A contributing factor could be that our tanks are not the ideal habitat for them - most come from deeper, more silty water. They are rarely exposed to the bright lights and cleaner waters of shallow reefs.

cm4l4tdakoj21.jpg

Remember how I said that corals are typically less colorful under sunlight? Well, the sun coral and many other related corals prove an exception to that rule. The sun coral, which is unique in that it is non-photosynthetic and relies on catching plankton and other crustaceans in its tentacles. They grow huge on many reefs.

jtcoral141018.jpg

Here's a unique photo - an urban coral reef exposed at low tide. This is off the coast off Pulau Semakau, an island. In the distance, you can see Singapore. At low tide, one will find the island as well as the waters around it teeming with life, though there have been concerns over pollution of the surrounding water. The Singapore government, however, tightly regulates environmental practices in the area, in contrast to many Indonesian islands.

acropora-millepora-wild-4.jpg

Here's a healthy patch of Acropora millepora, the purple one in the middle, as well as various other SPS, at a diving spot in the Pacific. The mille has the classic shape of its species, but which is very difficult to replicate in the aquarium.

Plerogyra-8.jpg

From the same source, here is a large Bubble coral, Plerogyra sinuosa. Notably, this colony, though extremely large, has suffered some damage, as evident but the large hold in the skeleton on the side. It's possible this is from an anchor of a boat.

Coral-outplant-Photo-by-CCMI-min.jpg

Here's another photo of SPS, this time the critically endangered staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Native to the Carribean, this coral faces huge challenges. Most of us will never keep this coral, its collection is essentially banned, except for extremely specific research and conservation purposes, by international law.

504733645d65a.jpg

Here is a large patch of anemones, species unknown, hosting an anemonefish.

Amphiprion-melanopus-quadricolor-jj-0076-081609 (1).jpg

Here are multiple bubble tip anemones growing in the Marshall Islands. They are hosted by Amphiprion melanopus. Notably, this photo was taken in 2008, and the same reef suffered multiple bleaching events in 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2016. Many corals and anemones did not survive, and these reefs are a shadow of their former selves.

Scolymia-2-copy.jpg
Scolymia-cubensis-1.jpg

Also from reefbuilders, here we can see some scolymias, specifically Caribbean scolies. Scolymia cubensis the smaller of the two species has a lower profile and often found on the side of rocks. It looks to have a smoother texture around the exterior of the disk. Scolymia lacera is the bigger flashier coral with visible skeletal teeth around the edge of the coral, on the left. These were both found in the Honduras.

Euphyllia ancora (Wikimedia) (1).jpg
Euphyllia-4.jpg

Switching gears to LPS, here are some huge swathes of hammer corals, these being the wall hammer Fimbriaphyllia ancora. Formerly Euphyllia, hammers and frogspawn/octospawn were reclassified in 2018. These huge corals could almost be considered reefs by themselves! They make anything we have in captivity pail in comparison.

goniopora-goniopora-columna-framed-by-leather-corals-ellisella-sp-daymaniyat-islands-nature-re...jpg

Here's a variety of goniopora surrounded by leather corals. Huge fields of leather emerge where the conditions are right, but sometimes other corals fight their way to the top and manage to gain a foothold among the leathers, as these gonis have done. This is why coral warfare happens! They have to fight for their real estate.

coral-water-800.jpg

Here's something really unique. No, these corals aren't bleached. These are deepwater small polyp stony corals. Yes, they exist! They receive no sunlight and are feed on plankton. They're exceptionally slow growers. Your fast growing acro can gain 10-20 cm in a year, but these guys grow just 0.1 cm in a year. They are extremely vulnerable to damage from deep sea trawling and other environmental damage.

Rainbow-of-Hard-Coral.jpg

Finally, back to the traditional reef picture. Here is a rainbow of corals found in the Pacific off the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, due to bleaching events, these corals are also severely damaged in the present. Their beauty remains only in a few photographs.

So there ends our brief tour of corals in the wild. You may notice that many of them suffer from environmental threats. These are very real and are impacting almost every reef on the planet. If you can, please check out or donate to a reef conservation agency, such as https://coralreef.noaa.gov. They need our help!
 
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rblackmon89

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Awesome post! It's incredible to me to see that the colors we develop are so wildly different.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to dive the Gulf of Tadjoura by Djibouti several times. Those experiences were solely responsible for getting me into reefing!
 
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hds4216

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Awesome post! It's incredible to me to see that the colors we develop are so wildly different.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to dive the Gulf of Tadjoura by Djibouti several times. Those experiences were solely responsible for getting me into reefing!
That sounds so cool! I've always wanted to dive. I was going to take a year off of school and travel the world, but COVID cancelled that. Now I've started my MD-PhD program and likely won't be able to until I graduate. One day though!
 

redeyejedi

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Awesome post! It's incredible to me to see that the colors we develop are so wildly different.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to dive the Gulf of Tadjoura by Djibouti several times. Those experiences were solely responsible for getting me into reefing!
Im sure only 1% of coral species are colourful, which is the 1% people keep in their tanks.
 
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Dennis Cartier

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Here are a few shots from my travels. These are from French Polynesia, either Tahiti, Morea or Bora Bora.

A domino damsel family and their anenome

ACtC-3flJK81tdB7b7KZcn0nL_u2jNNdY0PRI1jNQ2I3sKYS4hrcqeSbe57sifbD6aOOZ7rFDlX7Sh8DXp2b2kIiatqMqkICAKST_XUsCIwJcwJOCrBbex4n7yRoFjwDkbqV6DOOGTYau2wqWZvrYWZmY06S=w1024-h768-no


Blue chromis and other denziens of a large patch of staghorn coral.
ACtC-3d7R1aJBNeWiLXoe3KXZ9WS15LVcBQJ5fuYa5vXlzkzbSrXR2qOI_MbiFswefoERY3C6kCwOjmkDE5wg4002J_TU2MoPQB7qjbkfkEP09sL6lcE3bxjyqHsK0xXgOANVGiaAx_T4sdlmp0XO653PNG6=w1275-h956-no


A lagoon about 4 feet deep, with medium sized coral heads made for fun snorkeling ...
ACtC-3eQHgAmQ0042EGq2O5VRX_z1kcSN8A7ugia88_YzHkLuu8Cz2XAuo54E7CD-vRgGWOBigP46JAzQoB9xaQNFUcfoNulnVojqke8xf-bXwFBMUm302Ka1M_D0FI_MhfhXxssxtQm2wGOgy0eegcjrNyc=w1275-h956-no


... as long as you avoided these rock boring urchins which were plentiful.
ACtC-3futan8EJYCihS3qZot9HJVK7f1INKfG6KZOdrXWrUCsp3C9Zq6gJDQUAPd1CDpr_2pNRtbQluTfbfcdLNhlSHYwQJ5-K1eLzLawC2l7V009m-04doW1n2VU968m7EtqsrtHGzCk8V2c-wdL3diwQXe=w1275-h956-no



I am not sure what type of coral this is, but in the bottom of the channel in Bora Bora, there were coral heads measuring in the hundreds of feet (photo of small ones in the lagoon).
ACtC-3cEqbTcSLVtBeYNbE_YRbG-EuaysgFraaaeaA8sgWnI6sxXnytxsa7MZyA54g1sOz9E9efNgkHSNHXBFoflIyAWPbPwImEU1visPJFVvq99gHrIZM4OfMosthlWKJJxjNBhUJEJHs7ax7B5xeK8-teO=w1275-h956-no


Dennis
 
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hds4216

hds4216

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Here are a few shots from my travels. These are from French Polynesia, either Tahiti, Morea or Bora Bora.

A domino damsel family and their anenome

ACtC-3flJK81tdB7b7KZcn0nL_u2jNNdY0PRI1jNQ2I3sKYS4hrcqeSbe57sifbD6aOOZ7rFDlX7Sh8DXp2b2kIiatqMqkICAKST_XUsCIwJcwJOCrBbex4n7yRoFjwDkbqV6DOOGTYau2wqWZvrYWZmY06S=w1024-h768-no


Blue chromis and other denziens of a large patch of staghorn coral.
ACtC-3d7R1aJBNeWiLXoe3KXZ9WS15LVcBQJ5fuYa5vXlzkzbSrXR2qOI_MbiFswefoERY3C6kCwOjmkDE5wg4002J_TU2MoPQB7qjbkfkEP09sL6lcE3bxjyqHsK0xXgOANVGiaAx_T4sdlmp0XO653PNG6=w1275-h956-no


A lagoon about 4 feet deep, with medium sized coral heads made for fun snorkeling ...
ACtC-3eQHgAmQ0042EGq2O5VRX_z1kcSN8A7ugia88_YzHkLuu8Cz2XAuo54E7CD-vRgGWOBigP46JAzQoB9xaQNFUcfoNulnVojqke8xf-bXwFBMUm302Ka1M_D0FI_MhfhXxssxtQm2wGOgy0eegcjrNyc=w1275-h956-no


... as long as you avoided these rock boring urchins which were plentiful.
ACtC-3futan8EJYCihS3qZot9HJVK7f1INKfG6KZOdrXWrUCsp3C9Zq6gJDQUAPd1CDpr_2pNRtbQluTfbfcdLNhlSHYwQJ5-K1eLzLawC2l7V009m-04doW1n2VU968m7EtqsrtHGzCk8V2c-wdL3diwQXe=w1275-h956-no



I am not sure what type of coral this is, but in the bottom of the channel in Bora Bora, there were coral heads measuring in the hundreds of feet (photo of small ones in the lagoon).
ACtC-3cEqbTcSLVtBeYNbE_YRbG-EuaysgFraaaeaA8sgWnI6sxXnytxsa7MZyA54g1sOz9E9efNgkHSNHXBFoflIyAWPbPwImEU1visPJFVvq99gHrIZM4OfMosthlWKJJxjNBhUJEJHs7ax7B5xeK8-teO=w1275-h956-no


Dennis
Those pics are awesome!
 

mgelb16

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Hey all! Thought it would be cool to make a thread on some popular corals in the wild. They are some really interesting ones, and I think it's really neat to see some popular species in their natural habitats.

ehb6krjxf7j61.jpg

First, here's a pretty famous one. This is a torch coral at low tide. Taken in the Maldives. One thing you'll notice in these pics: without the blues of our light systems, corals tend to appear a lot less colorful. The natural sunlight changes their appearance.

Great-Barrier-Reef-2019-Coral-spawn-credit-Pablo-Cogollos.jpeg

Here's a really cool pic of a mass coral spawning event that occurred in 2019 on the great barrier reef. Scientists photographed it and collected samples of the sex cells so that they can raise them in labs. This gives them info on the corals lifecycle and development, and helps them find ways to better protect the reefs.

01530132.jpg
unnamed (1).jpg

Here are some older ones, this is an elegance coral, Catalaphyllia jardinei. Once common in the hobby and known as fairly hardy LPS, most now come with a fatal disease known unofficially as Elegance Coral Syndrome, which greatly limits their lifespan. A contributing factor could be that our tanks are not the ideal habitat for them - most come from deeper, more silty water. They are rarely exposed to the bright lights and cleaner waters of shallow reefs.

cm4l4tdakoj21.jpg

Remember how I said that corals are typically less colorful under sunlight? Well, the sun coral and many other related corals prove an exception to that rule. The sun coral, which is unique in that it is non-photosynthetic and relies on catching plankton and other crustaceans in its tentacles. They grow huge on many reefs.

jtcoral141018.jpg

Here's a unique photo - an urban coral reef exposed at low tide. This is off the coast off Pulau Semakau, an island. In the distance, you can see Singapore. At low tide, one will find the island as well as the waters around it teeming with life, though there have been concerns over pollution of the surrounding water. The Singapore government, however, tightly regulates environmental practices in the area, in contrast to many Indonesian islands.

acropora-millepora-wild-4.jpg

Here's a healthy patch of Acropora millepora, the purple one in the middle, as well as various other SPS, at a diving spot in the Pacific. The mille has the classic shape of its species, but which is very difficult to replicate in the aquarium.

Plerogyra-8.jpg

From the same source, here is a large Bubble coral, Plerogyra sinuosa. Notably, this colony, though extremely large, has suffered some damage, as evident but the large hold in the skeleton on the side. It's possible this is from an anchor of a boat.

Coral-outplant-Photo-by-CCMI-min.jpg

Here's another photo of SPS, this time the critically endangered staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. Native to the Carribean, this coral faces huge challenges. Most of us will never keep this coral, its collection is essentially banned, except for extremely specific research and conservation purposes, by international law.

504733645d65a.jpg

Here is a large patch of anemones, species unknown, hosting an anemonefish.

Amphiprion-melanopus-quadricolor-jj-0076-081609 (1).jpg

Here are multiple bubble tip anemones growing in the Marshall Islands. They are hosted by Amphiprion melanopus. Notably, this photo was taken in 2008, and the same reef suffered multiple bleaching events in 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2016. Many corals and anemones did not survive, and these reefs are a shadow of their former selves.

Scolymia-2-copy.jpg
Scolymia-cubensis-1.jpg

Also from reefbuilders, here we can see some scolymias, specifically Caribbean scolies. Scolymia cubensis the smaller of the two species has a lower profile and often found on the side of rocks. It looks to have a smoother texture around the exterior of the disk. Scolymia lacera is the bigger flashier coral with visible skeletal teeth around the edge of the coral, on the left. These were both found in the Honduras.

Euphyllia ancora (Wikimedia) (1).jpg
Euphyllia-4.jpg

Switching gears to LPS, here are some huge swathes of hammer corals, these being the wall hammer Fimbriaphyllia ancora. Formerly Euphyllia, hammers and frogspawn/octospawn were reclassified in 2018. These huge corals could almost be considered reefs by themselves! They make anything we have in captivity pail in comparison.

goniopora-goniopora-columna-framed-by-leather-corals-ellisella-sp-daymaniyat-islands-nature-re...jpg

Here's a variety of goniopora surrounded by leather corals. Huge fields of leather emerge where the conditions are right, but sometimes other corals fight their way to the top and manage to gain a foothold among the leathers, as these gonis have done. This is why coral warfare happens! They have to fight for their real estate.

coral-water-800.jpg

Here's something really unique. No, these corals aren't bleached. These are deepwater small polyp stony corals. Yes, they exist! They receive no sunlight and are feed on plankton. They're exceptionally slow growers. Your fast growing acro can gain 10-20 cm in a year, but these guys grow just 0.1 cm in a year. They are extremely vulnerable to damage from deep sea trawling and other environmental damage.

Rainbow-of-Hard-Coral.jpg

Finally, back to the traditional reef picture. Here is a rainbow of corals found in the Pacific off the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, due to bleaching events, these corals are also severely damaged in the present. Their beauty remains only in a few photographs.

So there ends our brief tour of corals in the wild. You may notice that many of them suffer from environmental threats. These are very real and are impacting almost every reef on the planet. If you can, please check out or donate to a reef conservation agency, such as https://coralreef.noaa.gov. They need our help!
Those are some incredible pictures I hope I can go and dive here one day.
 
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BranchingHammer

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I've only ever dived in Hawaii and Florida, and much of the reefs there are suffering. The small, isolated, and healthy reefs are absolultely stunning however. I love how you compiled a nice list of wild corals with wild photos. I will have to post some pics of endangered Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata that I saw while snorkeling in St. Thomas.

My next destination is Indonesia. I hope to see some amazing reefs before they're all gone.
 

1guydude

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The water is.too.cold here for.my skinny butt.
Your brain deff dosent tell you to breath either when your under water.
Lol
If your a nose breather too. Gotta switch that up. Lol
Take dive lessons all. If u can get certified. do it! Whole nother world down their.
D
 
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Dennis Cartier

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I have scuba dived exactly once, and that was an intro dive in Bora Bora. The instructor takes you down and leads you around by the hand for about 15 minutes or so. It was cool to be on the bottom (I snorkel a lot). Once I figured out how to control my buoyancy by controlling my breathing, that is. Before that I was like a balloon being held down in a field, lol. That was a few years ago. The instructor should be getting the feeling back in his fingers about now. :D

Dennis
 
BRS

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This is awesome to see as someone who doesn't love near an ocean or gone diving!! Keep them coming!!

Loving near an ocean can be nice, though you have to keep sand away from certain areas.... ;)
 

zalick

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Here's a few for you. A couple I thought were neat and the rest stuff we typically keep in our tanks. I took these with a new camera setup so forgive some of the focus issues! Manual focus on tiny creatures with current is TOUGH!

These were taken at various spots around Raja Ampat.

Giant clams about 6' across
A6500435.JPG A6501214.jpg

Dersa. These things grow like crazy. lots of Rocks with 20 of them on a single rock.
A6501378.JPG

Pipefish - so hard to find on the reef!
A6500621.JPG
A6500556.JPG

Electric flame scallop
A6500630.JPG

Random nudi. There are thousands of variations of nudis. I love taking pics of nudis (insert nudi joke) A6500731.JPG
Algae crab. Not sure what type. There are tons of arrow crabs there so might be related. Grows algae on its back for protection.
A6500739.JPG

Camel shrimp
A6501420.JPG

Anemone shrimp
A6501472.JPG


Pygmy seahorse. SO tiny. Very hard to get close enough and keep focus.
A6500979.JPG
Best friends.
A6501055.JPG


Also a little tough to get good pics because they are in and out of the rubble.

A6501068.JPG

Unknown plate. Plate gurus - I'd love an ID.
A6501113.JPG


Took this while snorkeling. The waves kept me from getting a good full shot. I finally gave up... wish I had stuck at it a little longer.
A6501371.JPG


Unknown SPS
A6501787.JPG

Taken at night or dusk with UV light on
A6500786.JPG

Tiny cleaner shrimp on the left cheek of moray.
A6501425.JPG

Macro shot of reef in middle of ocean not near any islands.
A6502267.JPG
Giant manta
A6501134.JPG
 
Last edited:
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