ZOA SPOTLIGHT: How The Speckled Krakatoa Got Its Name

Posted by on November 1, 2015 - zero

By Bret Ashley


I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been curious about how some zoas get their names.  There’s almost an art to picking one with a good ring to it.  Trying to have the name, the pattern, the colors of the zoa collide and become something special.  Utter Chaos, Flaming Mohican, Krakatoa.  I can’t say for sure on the previous mentioned polyps (actually I can on the Krakatoa, but that’s another story), but I was involved in the naming of one particular polyp, and it goes a little somethin’ like this….

September 2nd 2015, minding my own business when I get a text from a friend of mine, Jeff Slemp, who owns a local reef store.  He is super excited about a sick group of zoas he just got and wants me to come check them out before he cuts them up.  He sends me a picture and I literally drop what I’m doing and b-line it down to his store.

Now three months prior to this, I got a text from a different friend of mine (RudyB) saying I should come over and check out some polyps that just came in.  After looking at them we both agreed they were something special.  Two to three days later they were all gone.  Sometimes things just melt.

Everybody wants to be like the OG!

Everybody wants to be like the OG!

Seeing those polyps melt three months ago at Rudy’s, and now the same polyps finding their way back to me, I felt compelled to take them to Rudy and put them in the tank where the last Krakatoa I know of resided, to soak up any magic left there.

I have been into reef tanks for about 15 years, but the last 5 have mainly been zoanthids.  The colors and patterns are endless.  All I could think about were these new zoas.  I had a dream about them that night…I kid you not! The next day I told Rudy about the dream and he started cracking up.  I told him how these zoas had come from the same oceanic planet as the krakatoa and that the centers on a few look close to the OG krakatoa, and maybe the specks in the centers are star dust that got stuck in them from the journey to earth.  I asked Rudy to help name them as I think they were meant to make their way back to Rudy.  Here is what he said…

As an originator of OG & Master Krakatoa, I sent both to distant planet RobMeBlind for a Jedi mission.  Both the OG & Master Krakatoa have to stay there to keep the territory secured.  As a solution to ever growing zoa pirates on earth, he sent back their child, The Speckled Krakatoa, to rule the zoa world on earth.  The End. 

I have friends who want to buy these from me, stores telling me to sell them, but I refuse until Rudy comes forward and admits to his creation.  In my opinion, a Krakatoa name doesn’t mean anything unless it was named through its originator Rudy.  About 15 minutes after I challenge him to come and admit to his creation he does and Poof!  A new polyp is named and born.


Rudy’s interpretation and my dream combined to the perfect creation.  He said OG & Master Krakatoa were sent to a distant planet on a Jedi mission.  You have Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and the Return of the Jedi, the original Star Wars trilogy.  Now, you have the Krakatoa, Master Krakatoa, and the Speckled Krakatoa.  A zoa trilogy that would be hard to top.

A Krakatoa Trilogy (from left to right): OG Krakatoa, Master Krakatoa, and Speckled Krakatoa

A Krakatoa Trilogy (from left to right): OG Krakatoa, Master Krakatoa, and Speckled Krakatoa

This group of three zoas all share some similar traits, yet all are very different.  Part of the signature of the OG Krakatoa is its insanely bright orange skirts, followed by green, orange to black and then an orange center with some variations in the way the black is displayed.   The Master Krakatoa has bright green skirts that have three canary yellow strokes on almost every skirt, followed by a bright orange and black splattered center.  The Speckled Krakatoa has the bright orange skirts, it has the green, and the center is a speckled orange and black space.  If you ever wondered how some polyps got their names at least you can say or tell the story of how the Speckled Krakatoa got its name.


Be sure to check out CLUB ZOA, the Zoanthid Discussion forum at REEF2REEF.



Bret Ashley has been in the reefing hobby for 15 years. His current system is a 110g frag tank, plumbed into a 240g Zoanthid dominated display. Bret is an active member in his local reefing community and a board member of PNWMAS.


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