button polyps – Palythoa Coral
Common species: P. caesia, P. caribaeorum, P. complanata, P. mammilosa, P. psammophila, P. tuberculosa and many others
Common Names: sea mat, button polyps
Lighting: Will grow rapidly with bright light. Will bleach if light is to strong.
Aggressiveness: Really competitive with other corals. See warning…
Current: Moderate to strong
Color: Cream, brown, yellow and other.
Origin: Antilles. Usually found on reef flats and lagoons.
The polyps are broad, flat discs with knoblike, short, tapered or long, thin tentacles surrounding the disk rim. The following are the common species with their descriptions as currently known and accepted:
Forms large and encrusting matt of short tan, white, or coffe polyps. Polyps are densely packed and touching each other. It aggressively overgrows all known sessile life and has a very high growth rate (up to 4mm per day. It is found in shallow area with high water movement.
Forms small hemispherical colonies (less than 15 cm acros). Form encrusting mats of yellow to golden brown polyps. Has definite demarcations between polyps and do not touch when expanded.
Common in shallow area with strong water movement and strong light.
Form encrusting mat of small ovoid blobs less than 10 cm across. Polyps are dark brown to white. It prefer strong water movement and bright light and is found mostly on reef crests.
Form encrusting mat of light brown to green polyps (often with fine radiating lines on the oral disc). It has fine hairlike tentacles and the disc is often fluorescent under actinic light.
Small, single-layered, hemispherical encrusting colonies of milk-chocolate-colored polyps. Polyps are distinctly separated on an organic solid coenenchyme, yet individual polyps appear attached to the substrate. Many polyps may be closed at one time. This is a nighttime feeder.
Warning: All sepcies of Palythoa, and most related zoanthids, produce a chemical called palytoxin. Indigenous Pacific tribes used this neuromuscular agent to tip spears in order to paralyze prey and enemies. This is a potent toxin and can be deadly to humans. Wearing gloves and proper handwashing is recommanded.
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