News / Species Spotlight / Highly Underrated Coral - Caulastrea echinulata (11/19/15)

Highly Underrated Coral - Caulastrea echinulata

In the Wild

Caulastrea echinulata are generally found in somewhat murkier water than a lot of other corals commonly found in the marine aquarium hobby, usually on horizonal substrates in areas where they are protected from strong wave action.

The polyps are usually very fleshy making it hard to see the septa (ridges) in happy specimens. This is one good way which they can be differentiated from other similar species like Caulastrea furcata and Caulastrea curvata. Which both have similar growth forms, but who's septa are more clearly visible through the polyp. C. echinulata are frequently more colorful than their counterparts as well.

In the Aquarium

Because of their wild habitats, these are corals that do best in moderate light and low flow situations. They will greedily accept meaty foods like mysis, krill and finely chopped seafoods. If given these meals frequently, along with stable conditions, they will grow very quickly. They do have some zooxanthellae, so they can make it without food but will not thrive if left to survive only on lighting.

This coral is easily propagated by fragging. Care should be taken when placing these corals as they will extend "sweeper" tentacles that have the capability to sting and injure more sensitive invertebrates.

Ronald L Shimek, PH.D., Marine Invertebrates, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2004).
JEN Veron, Corals of the World, Book 3, 6th ed. (Australian Institute of Marine Science, Qld, 2000)
QM In House Sources: Eli Fleishauer, Gaspare Gladstone