Cnidaria – Anthozoa

Corals are colonies of tiny tubular animals called polyps and are generally classified as either hard or soft corals. The hard coral polyp secretes a cup-shaped limestone skeletal case that supports and protects the soft body of the coral polyp. When the polyp dies, the hard skeleton remains, and sometimes washes ashore. Coral polyps feed on small zooplankton, such as copepods and tiny marine larvae.

Did you know?

Reef building coral polyps are in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) partnership with zooxanthellae – tiny, single-celled algae contained in the cells of the polyps. The zooxanthellae provide nutrients for the coral polyps and in return the coral protects the algae.