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Blastomussa is a genus in the Family
Mussidae that consists of only two species.
The species are easily distinguished, as one
has large polyps, about the size of typical
aquarium corallimorphs. This species is Blastomussa
wellsi. The other species, Blastomussa
merleti, has smaller polyps - about the
size of a typical Zoanthus polyp. Veron
notes that they are both found in turbid water,
especially, and that B. wellsi is more
common on lower reef slopes. I believe most
of those collected for the trade may be from
somewhat less turbid water, but they are found
in both mid-depth (10-20m) and deeper reef slopes.
During trips to Indonesia, I have always found
B. wellsi to exist in relatively small
colonies, always protected from strong light
in shallower water by existing vertically or
even underneath reef bommies.
of the colonies I have seen, with the exception
of the rather large colony shown in this slideshow,
are about the size seen in the aquarium trade
- perhaps 2-12 polyps per colony. Blastomussa
merleti usually has more polyps per colony,
but also tends to exist as rather small colonies.
The polyps are expanded by day, but clear feeding
tentacles emerge at night. Blastomussa
are uncommon corals in the wild, and at least
B. merleti is an excellent candidate
for captive propagation. The corals fare well
in aquaria, requiring little special care. They
are tolerant of bright light after a period
of acclimation, although this is contrary to
the conditions found in their natural environment.
Text by Eric Borneman.
Photos by Reef Central members.