Hard coral polyps

Hard coral polyps

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Credit: MATTHEW OLDFIELD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hard coral polyps. Close-up of the polyps of a hard coral (Galaxea sp.). Each polyp has several tentacles, which catch planktonic organisms from the water and pass them to a central mouth. These polyps secrete a hard substance for protection and support. They build huge rock-like structures known as reefs, which commonly form the basis for diverse tropical marine ecosystems. This coral is found in the shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific region. Photographed off Mabul, Malaysia.

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Keywords: animal, cnidarian, cnidarians, coelenterate, coelenterates, coral, galaxea sp., hard, indo-pacific, invertebrate, invertebrates, mabul, malaysia, malaysian, marine, nature, ocean, polyp, polyps, sea, tentacle, tentacles, tropical, underwater, wildlife, zoology

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