Most Common Animals in Coral Reefs
Coral polyps are tiny and soft-bodied, related to sea anemones and jellyfish. A sight to see, they are vibrant colonial organisms with a hard base made of a protective limestone skeleton called a calicle, which forms the structure of coral reefs. They are polyps, meaning they are made up of hundreds to thousands of single corals to create amazing barrier reefs.
Lobsters are invertebrates classified as crustaceans commonly found in shallow ocean waters. During the day, lobsters hide in rock crevices. They are omnivores and eat live prey like fish, mollusks, and other crustaceans (in tough situations, they are cannibals!), worms and some plant life.
Clam is a common name for several kinds of mollusks with a bivalve shell. They are omnivores that eat algae, zooplankton, phytoplankton, and other organic matter that passes through their filtration system. There are over 100,000 animals or species in the Mollusca category or phylum. Many types make pearls within their shells to protect against irritants that sneak into their soft tissue.
A seahorse is a fish closely related to pipefishes and belonging to the scientific family Syngnathidae. They ambush predators by remaining still until krill, copepods, fish larvae, and other tiny edibles float by and then quickly attack. Seahorses are toothless and have no stomachs to store food. Therefore, they act as vacuum cleaners, continuously sucking up plankton.
Sea turtles are large, air-breathing reptiles with hard shells of hard keratin scales called scutes. In order to swim, turtles utilize all four of their legs, extending them to propel themselves through the water. There are seven known species of sea turtles: leatherback, loggerhead, Kemp's ridley, green, olive ridley, hawksbill and flatback. Depending on the species, some turtles are omnivores while others are herbivores.
Coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. An estimated 25 percent of all marine life, including over 4,000 species of fish, are dependent on coral reefs at some point in their life cycle. From Blacktip Reef Sharks, groupers, clownfish, eels, parrotfish, snapper, scorpionfish, and many more!