“This is a sea mat type of button coral! They form clusters of polyps on “mats” of sand!”
Moon Polyps received their name from the way their clusters of polyps appear –
in the shape of half moons!
The Moon Polyps Palythoa sp., are called by other names as well, including Encrusting Anemones, Sea Mats, and Zoanthid Button Polyps. They are actually colonial anemones and are fairly common in home reef aquariums. This genus alone, however, has lots of variety. They have polyps which are partially embedded in a mat and are quite short. Every polyp has flat discs that are covered with tentacles on their rims. Some species have tentacles which are very long and thin while others are knobby and short. Colors range from white, yellow, brown, cream, coffee, or yellow!
Palythoa sp. have a “mat” called the coenenchyma which connects the polyps. These polyps have little parts of sand and/or sediment that they use in the mat to make it more stiff and easier to support a colony. These extra bits of sand and sediment which make up the debris account for about 45% of the weight. The colonies grow in half-moon shapes (convex) and grow anywhere from 4″ to 12″ (10 – 30 cm) in diameter… Read More