Rarely seen in the pet industry, we just got a batch of Heteropsammia coclea. Sorry that we keep changing the name of the coral around, but there is little printed material on these guys to work from.
This is a strange type of coral that, at first glance, looks like Balanophyllia, but it stands alone on the sand floor of the ocean.
They form an almost “shell” shape to the bottom of the corals.
These fascinating little corals share a common charactistic of having a symbiotic association with a small invertebrate called a sipunculid or peanut worm, which gives the corals mobility and the ability to stay on the surface of the soft sediments in the environment where they live. The symbiotic association begins when the larval coral settles on a small snail shell as the first phase of the coral’s adult life. As the coral grows and its skeletal deposition nearly engulfs the shell, the peanut worm takes up residence inside the shell and through its own activity maintains a channel through the coral skelton to the outside. By the eversion and retraction of its feeding proboscis into or onto the soft sediment, the peanut worm can move the coral to a new position and keep it from being buried.
We have a select few of these corals for sale, as most are going to public aquariums and other parties to study and write about this little known coral.