Animals living in the Coral Reef habitat

Coral reefs are marine structures constructed from calcium carbonate secreted through corals. Coral reef consists of colonies of small living animals located in marine water which contain a small number of nutrients. The majority of coral reef is built out of stony corals, which often include polyps that gather in groups. Polyps are very small animals that are categorized in the phylum Cnidaria. These polyps eat with tentacles, which they stretch at nighttime to capture small floating animals like zooplankton. Polyps may include underwater species such as fish, worms, mollusks, echinoderms, crustaceans, tunicates, sponges and other cnidarians.

Coral polyps, along with other organisms, have to fight for living space in the complicated environment which they consistently are creating. Coral larvae require a hard surface to attach themselves to. After the baby polyps get settled, they mature into adults and begin to multiply. At some point, there are so many polyps, they start growing right beside or on top of each other. In some cases, it gets so out of control, they begin to latch on anywhere they can find a place.

Initially, corals were categorized as plants. However, as scientific resources became more evolved, microscopic and anatomical research proved that corals were, definitely animals. Just like animal cells, coral cells do not have cell walls. Plant cells do however have cell walls. The lack of cell walls, as well as other criteria, is sufficient enough to categorize corals as animals. Coral reef is extremely beautiful to look at and is one of the biggest attractions in scuba diving and ocean exploration.

Dugongs, manatees, and sea cows

American manatee
African manatee

Read more at the list of biomes of the world...
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