" a page dedicated to the ultra/ rare/ wild & unique zoanthids/palys/protopalys/ seamats ect....
and their correct common names"
*not meant to be a "zoa bible" - but a compendium or reference / wishlist ect...
choose GUIDE above for detailed Identification
mouse over pics for common names
"Working in the industry for over 20 years now, I can still remember when we got only button polyps, from distributors (some greener than others) and an ocassional blueish or whiteish one would come in. There were (and still are) polyps and seamat colonial polyps that we get from the Caribbean - more variety recently. And there were the the brite "yellow polyps" (parazoanthus gracilis) that we could get.
Around 1993 there started to be imported "multicolor polyps" and "colony polyps" -these were Zoanthids. We used them to add color spots in the reefs kind of like adding colors to a X-mas tree when decorating, but mainly greens some yellows and oranges. they were simple lowlight corals and under actinic lighting - POW!!! Alot of these "new polyps" were coming out of Bali & Jakarta, Fiji and Solomon Islands. Certain ones became all the craze...
(and I'm still addicted to this day...)
there are "atleast" seven different species of Zoanthids available to the hobbyist today: Z. sociatus, mantoni ,pulchellus, pacificus, vietnamensis, coppingeri, Suluwesi sp. cf. and with the two new "deepwater" species and the new African variant - I believe we are looking at nine to ten varieties. One could also add the "spider" zoas , and parazoanthus and if "sphenopus sp." are found to be different enough from protopalys then we have thirteen. In the genus palythoa we get atleast fourteen different species: P. grandis, caribaeorum, complanata, variabilis, grandiflora, mammillosa, toxica and sub species, P. mutuki and sub species, P. swiftii, P. parasiticus, P. axinellae, P. gracilis, dichroicus and S. marsupialis, Isaurus sp. and others. Great study and debate has been labored to classify these corals correctly - but as of now they are still broken down as above.
Around 1995 or so a lady "Margret" - a avid pet owner (freshwater / birds / dogs/ reeftank) - she named everything, not just her pets but her cleaner shrimp, and even some of her corals. Margret had some zoas she called -"halloween polyps" because of the orange & blackish coloration"- This may be the 1st zoa named, as we all (even distributors & Cali) were referring to them as orange & yellow / yellow and green / or neon green and I had not heard anyone refer to a certain color pattern of zoas or palys as a name yet. Short of there being "neon green" button polyps & "radoiactive green" button polyps- the later being more lemon-lime color. And I do remember writing a price for "mountain dew" button polyps "back in the day" - (now known as "Nuclear greens". ALOT of these "multi-color" zoanthid polyps started coming in. People loved them because you could get yellow, orange, and sometimes red, relatively easy corals to color-up their reefs.
Later a yellow fringed solid orange disk was named "sunflowers". The reverse are called "sunset" zoas ect. Soon afterwards we had eagle eyes (because they look like bird eyes) ,ones like Halloweens but with orange skirts were called "jack-O-lanterns" and if they had a white ring around the outside rim of the disk too- they were called "Sleepy Hollow" - so at first there were themes or some continuity. fire & Ice (because of the solidish white center but flaming red/orange rim - ice on fire -get it?).
thru the local and other marine societies we had some good names come...
-and thru the grapevine of a myriad of sources we began to name all the zoas patterns.... or atleast the COOL ONES!! Many being named by distributors, fish store employees, and hobbyist. And there is no ONE council on naming zoanthids (that Im aware of - or a member of), but many sources that a new named zoanthid may come from. Also there should be some sense in the names. and there are ALOT of "misnamed" zoas out there to add to the confusion on which colorform is what name. And I see very different zoas named the same names on some sites/ and the same zoas with "all new" names on other sites. Some of these names were already given to another zoa long before the name that they are now using. Conversely some of these zoas were named long before the name some sites list.
*"sometimes" the names given for a zoanthid / paly make sense - hopefully...
Many times I see a zoa or paly named for something obscure (unknown to the masses) or named for a pet, person, or something unique to the owner, like:
"I call these '57 chevys, cause I had a '57 car with the same color cupholder". Or to name brown button polyps "hersheys" and lets try not to name brown center, brown ring , brown fringed zoas: "Ghirardeli chocolates". Although if the later had a green ring and a yellow dot eye center you would call them:" Scooby-doo zoas" - because Scooby-doo has a green collar with a gold tag right??
the zoas that have a blue ring (like eagle-eyes) were called "fruit loops" - and due to a few different colored mouths and / or fringe - there were a few "kinds" of fruit-loops. Although later the ones just like that that had a pinkish or "bubblegum" center were renamed "blowpops" (after the sucker with the bubblegum middle, remember ? ) . "green eggs and ham came from the childrens book by(Dr.Seuss) as they are a white eagle-eye with green fringe and an egg yellow center like the pic above. Sunflower zoas look like sunflowers. "safecrackers" often had little white dashes like a pokerchip or a safelock - "Bali safecrackers" named now look more like nonstrict bullseye thats blue-red (& come from Bali) the white-lined ones became "pokerchips" and I dont have a good pic or have seen them in awhile now - but hoping. alot of other colorforms exhibit "pokerchips" or symetrical dashes in the outermost ring (before the halo). Many variations and alot of colorful zoas and palys brought about ALOT of names!
Although these variants (at first)were described (often) by the hobbyist as "red eagle-eyes with green fringe are "watermelon zoas" - this became "whammin' watermelon" zoas later tho... A tight inner ring around the mouth like in the new African blue zoas (morning glories & blue steel) became a "robot-eye" pattern - like in phantom menace or C3P0 zoas, a solid but "dot" center are called alien-eyes (like in Emerald isle or bumble-bee or blue angels zoas ect...; a " dilated pupil (like in the "poppys" or "miami hurrricanes" ect... above) is a "zombie-eye pattern" - because zombies are dead and have dilated eyes. Snake-eyes have a slit running thru the disk (usually uncolored) (like in Destert sun or evergreens or fire & ice) -and conversely a copper colored snake-eye with green fringe are called "copperheads" after the actuall snake -ect...Cat's eyes are solid all the way to the halo ring with one color (not even mouth) and the halo is colored.
Superman zoas were named back in 1997 -1998 or so by either a comic book / Christopher Reeve fan (I'm guessing) but they were named back in 1997 or so, much later - 2001ish we got a blue center zoa with a red fringe - this was named "spiderman zoas" after the new movies/ comix. later someone brought up the fact that superman wears mainly blue with a red trimmings (Spiderman the reverse) and the new zoas should have "superman status" - but Superman zoas were named 6 years earlier so ...NO-
*Although the newer palys that that have come out that are blue with red fringe, are called superman because of this trait. "man of steel" zoas are supermans with grey fringe. "WonderWoman zoas" are supermans with a gold fringe (like on her lasso/ bracelets/ headband)- get it!!! Captain America are red/ white/ & blue Bali safecrackers... like his famous shield. Aquaman look like what we know now as "radioactive green dragon-eyes", except in the R.A.G.D.E -green fills the entire disk (not like a dragon's eye to me...) and they are solid green disk with green skirt. And the Aquaman zoas have a chartruse skirt (that's a fishin' lure color...) there are alot of superheroes names in zoas, but alot of them make sense...green hornet, green lantern, silver surfer, X-Men, and "Hulk-mad!!" come too mind...
During this era but a little later (1997-98) there were the protopalys that came in (looked like a crossbreed, and had more colors than regular button polyps. They were defined by the visible "slit" they had for a mouth in their center, quite often it was colored green, but more colors came shortly. because of their slit for an eye, they were called "dragon-eyes"... because (if you believe) dragons would have slits for their pupils in their eyes. Eventually a nice specimen that had a purplish body with green mouth and fringe variant was named "purple people eater dragon-eyes)...but the "dragon-eyes" was soon dropped and the "people-eater" variants were hatched. although you do see "D.E." attached to them alot - and this stands for "dragon-eyes".
Armour of God zoas (are actually palys) that due to their unique pink/red bicicle spoke pattern and fringe & mouth look alot like the shield that you get when you defeat Beealzebub (I think...) only in warrior mode - in Diablo(TM) the video game - the shield icon that it shows up in the corner looks alot like it!! Devils armour is the shield you get when you defeat the level before that one and is more solid metallic red. The palys "starry nites" look like they have lots of "stars" in the body disk, these sparkles are evident in many variants, such as "gold dust" palys, stardust, goldschlager or "Krypton supernovas" - which have a pink / white halo ring just before the fringe and a green mouth, and lots of green sparkles in the body disk - this resembles the planet Krypton exploding and all the shards of Kryptonite being cast into space during its explosion. "Aspens" are the same without the pink/ blue supernova ring and the fringe is white (resembling snow). "beefcake" palys have a purple center and also no ring(halo). Usually the zoas & palys share the same names for a resembling pattern - but not always...like a green "alien-eye" patterned paly is called "Hulk" palys - and if they have a lime mouth- they are called "Hulk-Mad!!", not "alien-eye" palys (or a name that would convey an"alien-ish" name to them. And thats OK - cause it fits...
**With most variants, all you need is a different colored fringe or a different ring pattern, different colored or size center, a halo ring or different colred halo ring, or even a mouth color to be referred by a different name: EXAMPLE:
fire & ice zoas are red/orange fringed with a "snake-eye" patterened white center filling the entire disk. by contrast: "clown paint" zoas have a solid white center; "clown nose" zoas have solid white centers with a orange/red dot center. alpha & omega are fire & ice with white rings on black body disk ; flaming earth are fire& ice with blue/green whitish centers; "sunkissed' zoas are fire & ice with a streaked orange/white "kiwi star" center pattern; "sunburst" zoas are "alpha & omega" zoas with brite yellow(not gold) centers; gold streaked centers are called "melting pot"; orange fringe with a gold robot-eye are called "alchemy"; orange fringe with peachy centers is called tangerines; with a white & peachy center they are called "sherberts" -after the icecream.-and that explians about 1/4 of the orange fringed (with different centers/patterns) zoas...
I could give an explanation as to the name of many zoanthids (as I know it or have heard) and I DO believe we should refer to them by their own formula maybe. like: colorform / pattern = "AKA" (name of zoa) format for ease as we continue in this endeavor. many patterns are unique - but I have seen many "morphs" thru the years that happen in different conditions. Due to lighting / tank perameters/ temperature/ current/ changes ect... Many of the pics shown here that I have accrued over the years are whats refered to as an "ultra" colorform or an outstanding example or "THE holotype" for this zoanthus sp. / paly.
The below pages are a compendium of zoa & paly pictures ( pages I- VIII)
-The "Guide" pages are individual pages with more info on each like their origin date
thier name origin, and their rarity on a 1-10 scale ( with 10+ being the most rare to find)
Zoas/ palys page 2