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Guess this species (you won't guess correctly)

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jan 13, 2014 10:00 AM
Take a long, hard look at this photo. Try to identify this organism ... then try again. We share the answer after the jump. Nature is really amazing.

acroalgae2.jpg

Nope.  Not Acropora sp.  Not Montipora sp.  Not Anacropora sp.

This is Eucheuma arnoldii ... a red ALGAE that mimics Acropora.  Wild, huh?!  Photos A and B are of E.arnoldii, and photo C is Acropora vaughani, which grows in close proximity to the algae on the Great Barrier Reef.  E.arnoldii exhibits tapered branches with light colored tips that mimic an Acropora's growing axial corallites.  The fake radial corallites and arborescent growth form are a spitting image of staghorn corals.  This is Batesian mimicry at its finest.  This algae has found one great way to avoid being eaten by tangs.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.

Website: http://www.advancedaquarist.com.

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