Corals and Other Invertebrates Archives - Page 2 of 4 - Oceana

Moon Jelly

Though the moon jelly lives throughout the epipelagic zone, it is most commonly found near the coast and in upwelling areas, where its prey occurs in higher concentrations. This species is not a very strong swimmer, so they are often found on beaches after strong storms or tides that push them onshore. Along with other jellies, moon … Read more

Lophelia Coral

Wherever it lives, the lophelia coral builds structure that provides habitat for many kinds of invertebrates and fishes. Some lophelia coral reefs can be enormous, stretching for several miles and rising to at least 100 feet (30 m) above the seafloor. Lophelia coral reefs of this size may be tens of thousands of years old. Individual living lophelia … Read more

Ivory Bush Coral

Shallow-water populations are known to have symbiotic algae living within their cells, providing the corals with excess energy that they make via photosynthesis (the use of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into food/energy). Nearly all species of shallow-water corals and several other groups of reef invertebrates have symbiotic relationships with these algae. On deep reefs, however, there … Read more

Edible Sea Cucumber

Like most sea cucumbers, the edible sea cucumber is a scavenger. It crawls along soft bottoms near coral reefs and seagrass beds ingesting sand and mud in its path. It separates out and digests any plant or animal matter and passes the sand, leaving a trail of clean sand behind. The edible sea cucumber feeds throughout the day and … Read more

Yellow Tube Sponge

These tubes are open at the top and closed at the base and provide habitat for many other species of invertebrates (including crabs and shrimps) and reef fishes (including gobies and cardinalfishes). Yellow tube sponges, like all sponges, are attached to the reef surface and are unable to move. If pieces of an individual are broken off … Read more

Spanish Dancer

Though this species spends most of its time crawling along the reef surface, it will swim when threatened, violently flapping its external gills and other appendages and displaying its brightest warning colors. This behavior reminded some observers of a flamenco dancer, earning the Spanish dancer its common name. Spanish dancers are specialized predators that prefer to … Read more

Yellow Cup Black Coral

Though it has “yellow” in its name, some yellow cup black corals can be a beautiful lime green color. The general name “black coral” refers to the color of the naked skeleton, not to the color of the live animal. Black corals are closely related to stony corals and anemones. Unlike shallow-water corals, most black corals … Read more

Sea Wasp

Using these stinging cells, the sea wasp hunts small fishes and pelagic invertebrates like swimming crabs or prawns. The cnidocytes are also the source of the powerful sting, and the stories of deaths caused by the sea wasp almost always involve a person being wrapped in multiple tentacles, with stings covering much of the body. There … Read more

Lobe Coral

This species forms large structures that can reach several meters across. Though they appear to be very large, only the outer few millimeters represent living tissue, while the rest is a calcium carbonate skeleton. Lobe coral structures only grow a few centimeters each year and may be hundreds of years old. Each structure is actually a colony of … Read more

Eccentric Sand Dollar

The eccentric sand dollar is a relatively small species (reaching sizes of only a few inches in diameter) that lives off the west coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja California. Though they are totally flat, these sand dollars are often observed buried in the sand on an edge with half of their bodies under … Read more