Common Name: Red Bugs
Scientific Name: Tegastes Acroporanus
Red bugs are small flea-like creatures that can infest smooth-skinned hard coral. This crustacean is yellow in color with a red dot, approximately 1/2 mm in length. It has been theorized that red bugs are either a parasitic form of copepod or micro-amphipod, though very little research has been done and their true identification is not complete at this time. If the coral begins losing coloration and stops showing normal polyp extension, take a closer look at the tissue of the coral for any small yellowish/red specks. An infected colony of Acropora will typically show poor or no polyp extension, and will slowly lose coloration over time. In the aquarium word it is recomentded to remove them as quick as posible.
Common Opinion: BAD
There are several known treatments that can help, from introducing natural predators to medications. Introducing a Dragonface Pipefish (Corythoichthys haematopterus) may solve the problem as some will begin to feeding on tiny crustaceans as well as red bugs. Dipping the Acropora into a concentrated iodine or formulated coral dip and aquarium water mixture usualy helps to remove the creatures from the dipped coral. Another experimental treatment involves treating a quarantine aquarium with Milbemycin oxime. This chemical is the active ingredient in Interceptor, a de-worming medication for dogs only available by prescription from a Veterinarian and not as widely used in the hobby.