The Merulina amphiata is commonly called the Ruffled Coral, as well as names derived from its scientific name, starting with 'amp', 'amplicata', 'ampliata', and 'amphiata'. Most of the Merulina corals are "frilly" and their common names are often descriptive of that. Some of the common names that the Merulina genus is known for are Ruffled Coral, Lettuce Coral, Ridge Coral, Merulina Coral, and Cabbage Coral.
The Merulina genus has a variety of growth forms. Most form colonies that have a ruffled plate or fanlike growth formation. But Merulina's can also develop tall columns looking like a forest from the top, or short less developed columns that create a ruffled plate formation. The Ruffled Coral in the picture above has the 'frills', but is a bit knobbier than other varieties.
The colors of the Ruffled Coral M. amphiata are commonly green, pink, brown, and cream. Some colonies can possess several of these colors. These corals also have sweeper tentacles which come out at night. They are located on the coral's edges or margins and can reach 3" (8 cm).
Only an expert aquarist should attempt to keep this coral, it is not recommended for beginners. Although difficult to care for the Merulina species are some of the most beautiful corals, coming in blue, red, purple, green and pink. The Merulina genus comes from lagoon type environments, thus indicating that this should be an easy SPS to care for. On the contrary, it is very difficult to keep and doesn't adjust well to changing conditions.
Propagation of M. amphiata has not been successful in captivity, due to this coral's low survival rate. To compound the problem, they grow slowly. Typically wild caught specimens are available, although great care and research should be done before attempting this coral. Eventually propagators will be able to figure out their specific needs for long term care and this coral may become easier to keep.