Are Corals Plants Or Animals?

I was just wondering that – Corals look like plants, and they don’t move around like a lot of animals. Is coral an animal or a plant?

Corals pictures - coral reefs ( Pillar coral )
Corals pictures - coral reefs ( Pillar coral )
  • Corals are animals that evolved into reef building forms over the last 20-25 millions years.
  • Corals are colonies of made up of tiny animals called polyps. They have an exoskeleton like insects. Polyps are usually a few millimeters in diameter, and are formed by a layer of outer epithelium and inner jellylike tissue known as the mesoglea.
  • Around its mouth are stinging tentacles that enable it to capture food. Corals can catch small fish and animals using stinging cells on their tentacles, however most corals obtain most of their energy and nutrients from photosynthetic unicellular algae called zooxanthellae. Corals can not make their own food and eat other plants and/or small fish (animals). Hence, Corals are animals.
  • Many consider coral reefs the most biologically diverse regions our planet.
  • Coral reefs are found in warn, shallow, clean water. Corals require sunlight too.
  • Coral reefs contains more than 25% of all marine life.
  • The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia is the largest reef of all, stretching 2,000 kilometers across the ocean.


(Click the play button to view Corals reefs related video)

Coral Reef Tour (Travel)

You need to travel to the following location to view some of the greats coral reefs around the world:

  1. The Great Barrier Reef – largest coral reef system in the world, Queensland, Australia.
  2. The Andros, Bahamas Barrier Reef – third largest in the world, following the east coast of Andros Island, Bahamas, between Andros and Nassau.
  3. Pulley Ridge – deepest photosynthetic coral reef, Florida.
  4. The Belize Barrier Reef – second largest in the world, stretching from southern Quintana Roo, Mexico along the coast of Belize to the Bay Islands of Honduras.

References:

  • Coral article from the wikipedia.

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