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Fire coral

Millepora alcicornis


Fire corals are most commonly found in shallow reefs where an optimum level of sunlight is available and a variance exists in the flow of water.


Hunting Cay, Belize


The Fire coral is actually not a coral, but rather a hydrozoa undergoing two different life forms. It can take on many different shapes depending on its environment. In places with a light current, the coral might grow in long thin strands that form a lattice, whereas in an area with mildly strong currents, the choral will grow thick branches or columns. In extremely strong water currents, the coral will grow to form a thin crust. The coral also carries on a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, an algae that lives in the coral providing it food while feeding on the Fire coral waste and retaining shelter. Unlike most corals, Fire corals have tiny polyps that are almost microscopic and there are two specialized polyps, one with nematocysts released for protection as a defense mechanism and the other for sexual reproduction. Fire corals are also hollow tubes that store oxygen to offset any organism that bumps into it.

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Spotted by


Spotted on Oct 13, 2013
Submitted on Nov 12, 2013

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