What is hard and soft coral?

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โˆ™ 2008-07-23 16:33:27

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Hard Corals and Soft Corals are not so easily defined because some corals which fall into the Soft Coral category are not actually soft. The basics are like this: Corals start out as free-floating larvae. The larva eventually attaches itself to a hard surface and becomes a polyp (individual coral). The polyp is a very tiny animal (a few millimeters in diameter) looking something like a sea anemone. Coral polyps live side by side in colonies. The Hard coral (such as Brain Coral) polyp secretes a limestone skeleton cup around itself and lives inside for protection. When a polyp dies, its skeleton or "house" remains intact. The name "hard coral" comes from skeleton around the polyp. Hard corals are the reef builders Soft coral (such as gorgonians or sea fans) are more tree-like and flexible. The skeleton of soft corals is located within their bodies, giving them form but allowing them to move with the waves. When you look at a coral formation you are looking at a colony of corals or lots of polyp "houses" (in the case of hard corals). Many identical coral individuals next to each other, forming a texture, pattern or structure. The pattern's characteristics are determined by the coral's species. Besides the skeleton location, most hard corals have 6 tentacles where most soft corals have 8.

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โˆ™ 2008-07-23 16:33:27
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Q: What is hard and soft coral?
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