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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Blue Coral

Blue Coral, (Heliopora coerulea), is a species of coral in the Helioporidae family. It is commonly found in shallow coral reefs and is found extensively throughout the Indo-Pacific including the Ryukyu Islands in southwest Japan, the Coral Sea in northeast Australia, and American Samoa. The largest known blue coral colony in the world is off Ishigaki Island of the Yaeyama Islands in southwest Japan.

This is the only known Octocoral known to produce a massive skeleton. The skeleton is formed of aragonite, similar to that of scleractinia. Individual polyps live in tubes within the skeleton and are connected by a thin layer of tissue over the outside of the skeleton. Due to its unique blue coloration and being fairly tolerant in most environments it is often used in tropical aquariums.

Some types of Bubble Tea, a pearl milk tea or juice beverage originating from Taiwan in the 1980s, contains syrup extracted from the blue coral.

Blue Coral