Blue leather coral

Blue leather coral

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Credit: ALEXIS ROSENFELD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Blue leather coral (Sarcophyton sp.). This soft coral is produced by polyps around their colonies for protection and support. Soft coral differs from the more familiar hard coral in that it is not rocky and calcium-rich. Usually the tentacles of the polyps can be seen, but they have been retracted while the coral cleans off microalgae. The extended tentacles of the polyps trap the plankton that forms the basis of the polyps' diet.

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Keywords: animal, biological, biology, blue leather coral, cleaning, cnidarian, coelenterate, colony, fauna, invertebrate, invertebrates, marine, nature, ocean, polyp, protection, sarcophyton sp., sea, soft coral, supportive, underwater, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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