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Interesting Nepthea distinction

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Now that the hobby has come far enough to keep difficult lps or sps with relative ease(some even formerly impossible to maintain), I’ve noticed the dip in soft coral interest- resulting in the misidentification of many leather corals.


Rarer softies seem to be more easily overlooked or mistaken for more common fare and vice versa.


For e.g. this leather that was in a recent shipment at a LFS here (photo taken with my phone cam)IMG_2253.thumb.JPG.cc822fa2f942ebdc098c376948f85687.JPG


What appears to be a standard green nepthea or mislabeled a sinularia turned out to be a Japanese lemnalia coral, which is rarely heard of(probably due to the generalisation of many tree corals in the hobby as kenya tree neptheas).


Notice how the polyps in the first photo as compared to the one below are uniformly green instead of brown like the more common kenya trees we’re used to seeing around: (photo taken from internet)



Besides being green all around, the former also has more odd star-shaped polyps than the latter that has brown-tipped polyps that are less star-shaped and more stubbly/feathery.


After much internet digging, I’ve come to the conclusion that the frag I chances upon at our local LFS was indeed a Japanese Lemnalia rather than a Japanese Nepthea. The shipment also labeled them as “nepthea and sinularia from Japan”, so my suspicions were confirmed. It was probably lumped in as a nepthea from Japan as well since it is technically a closely related family species.


This is the photo I found online(from GTA Reef’s webstore) that convinced me: a larger example of a Japanese Lemnalia frag. Notice the similarity in structure of the branches and the star-like polyps(7-pronged) that are green all over, pretty much like the one in the first photo:



Perhaps I’m wrong and it’s a Japanese Nepthea variant after all, but it would be a truly interesting find if it were a Lemnalia(because I’ve never seen them here before this).


I also noticed it was the only frag there that didn’t look similar to the several other frags available from the same shipment that were also labelled ‘Japan nepthea/sinularia’, which I could tell were frags of the same species from probably the same mother colony- except this particular one.


It piqued my interest so I just thought I’d share all of this on the forums. Am curious to see if anyone might a bigger colony of the same coral and photos shared(of any nepthea/sinularia/capnella leather coral families) would be much appreciated.


Cheers and stay safe everybody.






Sent from Singapore Reef Club mobile app





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