Photograph by Blogie Robillo

Yellow Leather Coral

The yellow leather coral is a soft coral Sarcophyton species that can be found in the shallow waters of reef tops, lagoons and reef slopes in the Indo-Pacific Ocean (specifically Tonga and Fiji) where they have easy access to constant and intense sunlight, in addition to rapidly moving currents.

This location is crucial for the yellow leather corals survival, as it depends on the energy generated from its symbiotic algae zooxanthellae to during photosynthesis for growth and survival. The ocean currents also assist the yellow leather coral in reproduction through accidental fragmentation.

The yellow leather coral is also known as Yellow Leather Coral, Elegant Leather Coral, Yellow Umbrella Leather, Yellow Mushroom Leather, Yellow Toadstool Leather, Fiji Yellow Umbrella Yellow, and Fiji Yellow Toadstool corals. As its name suggests, it is found in various shades of yellow.

Unlike other leather corals, the yellow leather coral does not grow a stalk to hold its body. The coral grows quite close to the rock it uses as its base and expands in intricate ruffles around its edges. These types of corals may start out small, anywhere from 1- 6 (approximately the size of a baseball), but they frequently expand and contract to great degrees. In only a few weeks, the yellow leather coral can grow from small to extremely large.

It is common to see the yellow leather coral gently and slowly moving amidst the water. Yellow leather coral is a peaceful coral and passive in nature, as it will not damage other creatures with its tentacles. However, this does not mean that the yellow leather coral cannot be damaged itself by other corals, as it can be. Due to the frequent expansion and retraction of the yellow leather coral, it may threaten other sea creatures due to its size.

As far as artificial environments are concerned, the yellow leather coral is one of the most popular corals because of its brilliant yellow color and striking appearance. However, it is one of the more difficult corals to maintain and care for. Yellow leather corals are not as hardy as other leather corals in the beginning of captivity, as they do not like excessive handling., This can be one of the biggest problems when ordering yellow leather corals since the they are handled more frequently in order to ship efficiently, resulting in a high possibility of damage during transit. However, once established in a tank and proper environment and left alone to grow, the yellow leather coral will thrive. If placed in a reef aquarium, the yellow leather coral will require medium lighting and water flow, and a steady temperature set in the mid 70s. In addition, iodine and strontium can be used to further the corals continuing health. Fragments of the yellow leather coral can be detached to stimulate reproduction.

Blane Perun

Diver - Photographer - Traveler

Whale in Ocean