Great star coral

Great star coral

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Caption: Great star coral. Close-up of the corallites of a great star coral (Montastrea cavernosa). Each of the rounded corallites houses a single coral polyp (not seen). The polyps emerge at night to filter plankton from the water. The polyps secrete a mineral around themselves for protection and support. The combined secretions of thousands of polyps build up a large rocky structure around the colony. Colonies can reach over 2.5 metres in diameter. Great star coral is found in tropical waters throughout the world, but is particularly prevalent in the Caribbean Sea. It is found down to a depth of up to 200 metres. Photographed off Andros Island in the Bahamas.

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Keywords: andros island, animal, bahamas, biological, biology, caribbean sea, close-up, cnidarian, coelenterate, coral, corallite, corallites, fauna, great star coral, hard coral, invertebrate, invertebrates, large cupped boulder coral, many, marine, montastrea cavernosa, multiple, nature, polyp, polyps, tropical, underwater, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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