Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fire Coral

[Originally posted to the Moorea Coral Reef LTER (MCR LTER) Marine Life Encyclopedia]

Fire Coral
(Millepora spp.)

Fire Coral - Millepora spp.
Photo by Gerick Bergsma

The name Fire Coral derives from this animal's powerful sting, which in humans causes pain and burning when touched.

Fire corals of the genus Millepora are found on tropical reefs throughout the world.

Exposed reefs and reef flats

Sunlight via photosynthetic symbionts (zooxanthellae) and plankton captured using stinging cells.

Quick Fact
Fire corals belong in a group of animals called hydrozoans, and are actually more closely related to many kinds of jellyfish than they are to other corals.  They possess more powerful stinging cells, called nematocysts, than other stony corals, which allows them to catch and kill small organisms living in the water column, providing additional nutrition beyond what they receive from symbiotic photosynthesizing bacteria (zooxanthellae) that live inside their tissue.

Learn More
- Shedd Aquarium
- What are Corals?

- Moorea Biocode Database

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