ACI Aquaculture's "Covid 'Shroom"
ACI Aquaculture’s “Covid ‘Shroom”

Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. If 2020 had a coral mascot, this would be it. What’s been dubbed the “COVID ‘Shroom” in private conversations has an interesting backstory, as told by ACI Aquaculture’s Chris Meckley below.

This isn’t really a “named” coral, and it’s already been passed along in the marine aquarium supply chain, but someone out there will get their hands on this one-of-a-kind mushroom polyp. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll see some descendants offered someday. No word on whether a possible future propagator would carry on with the “COVID ‘Shroom” name, but it seems visually fitting.

Rhodactis osculifera
ACI Aquaculture
Plant City, Florida
Geographic Origin: The Dominican Republic
Light Level: Moderate
Flow Level: Moderate
Care Level: Easy

This St. Thomas Mushroom, also known as the Warty Corallimorph (formerly known to science as Discosoma sanctithomae), was collected in the Caribbean near the Dominican Republic. This coral is normally collected at depths of 50–75 feet (15–21 m).

It arrived in rough shape and took about three months to be good enough for ACI to sell it. It recovered with amazing colors and a unique structure to the polyp. Normally, each of the “warts” would be almost bubbles like a Bubble Tip Anemone (Entacmae quadricolor), but this one was different. 

“These corallimorphs are easy to care for because they thrive in a wide range of aquarium environments,” noted Meckley. “We keep them in moderate light and moderate flow.”

The Real Covid-19

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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