As a social media addict on reef and coral related subjects, I come across many interesting questions on popular facebook groups.
Recently, one in particular stood out: “…that neon green nepthea is extinct in Palau. The reason being various from temperature change, over harvesting, hurricanes, etc. but I’m wondering if that is all speculation. I’m aware of places like Biota culturing it on a mass scale (possibly the first?) and see aquaculture specimens available regularly. The people who have it, love it and many reputable tanks have some as well. I’m aware that there is green sinularia and possibly green nepthea elsewhere but is this specific strain really extinct or is it all marketing? It’s really a beautiful soft coral and to know more about it would be interesting.”
Neon green Nepthia on the left and Green Sinularia on the right. Photos from Biota Palau.
Since Biota was mentioned, I contacted Tom Bowling of Biota Aquariums (who are the leaders in aquaculture in Palau) and relayed the question; here is what he had to say.
(Since there are such heated debates surrounding the identity of Nepthias vs Sinularia, we left that out for a future topic)
“We have a few varieties and we have had some disagreements on the actual species, however there are some reefs we know of where the green sinularia is abundant.
I can tell you the nepthia is also not extinct. I know of three locations where it occurs.It is not extinct, however the sites I know of are planted by farmers…not wild.”
There you go, even if the coral has been damaged by heavy hurricanes and storms, it was put back by the coral farmers. This is actually a win for the aquaculture industry, and a great case of humans stepping in to help mother nature and I am happy to report that these beautiful corals are still out there in the ocean and thriving.