Professor Tamandua gave you a simple explanation of coral polyp the other day! Today we’re going to talk more about coral and how they build the reefs that are so amazing!
Coral Fun Facts:
- Coral are colonies of animals. They are built by tiny little animals called coral polyps!
- Each animal is attached to the next by a hard exoskeleton.
- The large coral colonies are fixed to one spot. The individual animals can pull their tentacles into their exoskeleton for protection.
- They have tentacles with stinging cells that help them catch their prey!
- Coral are related to jellies and anemones.
- Coral share their homes with zooxanthella (zō′ə-zăn-thĕl′ə), a type of algae. The zooxanthella and coral polyp help each other survive.
- The coral provide a home for the zooxanthella and the zooxanthella provide oxygen and nutrients for the coral.
- The zooxanthella also give the corals their colors!
- Because the zooxanthella need sun to make energy (photosynthesis), coral reefs are located in shallow waters.
- As coral grow, they help build shelter for many kinds of animals in the reef. Those calcium carbonate bodies build the reef.
- Some fish, like parrotfish eat coral. The fish’s poop then becomes sand. Much of the sand in the Caribbean is parrotfish poop!
- You can often see new growth on a coral by seeing the white tips!
Corals are essential for the health of coral reefs. Coral reefs are found mostly in tropical waters around the planet. These delicate ecosystems are important for many animals in the ocean. They are often called the rainforests of the ocean and are the one of the most biodiverse biomes on our planet! Let’s here it for coral!