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Coral ID


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I'll post a picture once I get off of work this afternoon but I picked up a small 5 dollar frag from my lfs yesterday. The store clerk sold it to me as purple gorgonian but im having doubts. To me it looks more like a birdsnest coral or maybe a variation of montipora digitata. Is there a clear way to tell the difference between the species? Thanks

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It's weird, usually a gorg and an sps aren't readily confused with each other which makes me curious to what this actually looks like.


most if not all gorgs typically share the same octocoral type poylps. They look very different from anything an sps put out which tend to be short stubby poylps. gorgs are usually softer too. There's probably exceptions tho. But yes pics will definitely be more definitive.

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As mentioned above, the three species of coral you refer to are all very different from one another; most notably the gorgonian. Gorgonians are flexible, spongy, leathery, and jiggle or bounce when moved. In hand they can be quite floppy depending on the species, while some others hold better form. SPS such as Montipora digitata or Seriatopora sp are very rigid with no flexability or give. These corals will snap or break with little effort, and will not bounce or jiggle if handled. That property alone could help determine what coral you currently have.


For visual reference, I have pulled three photos from google. Keep in mind there are many species of gorgonian, so the photo I provide may look different from what you have.



Montipora Digitata


Seriatopora Species (Birds Nest)

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The coral is very stiff to the touch and I have never seen it with any polyp extension. The frags in the tank weren't in the best condition so I'm hoping to nurse it back to health and hopefully end up with a nice coral for $5. I don't know why it is being called purple by the LFS unless the polyps are purple once they open up. To me it looks like an orange Montipora Digitata that has been in poor lighting for some time. let me know what you think. thanks


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Thanks for all the replies, Coral has already started looking better got a little bit of polyp extension now and hopefully it will continue to get better once acclimated and moved up to a higher light area.


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