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Are these corals feeding or is this an underwater dance party?



Watch this coral wave throw its hands in the air as if you did not care! But it does not really matter, and they are not really hands – they are the tentacles of coral polyps.

Although it looks like an accelerated underwater dance party, these tentacles swing around looking for food. Coral polyps are the tiny creatures that live in large colonies that form a whole reef structure. At night, the polyps stretch their long tentacles out of their skeletons to catch the floating plankton they eat, according to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

This video is a series of timelapse clips that show how new polyps eat and develop as the coral structure grows larger. Peter Kragh, a natural history cameraman, filmed the clips in an aquarium in San Diego over a period of 1

to 3 weeks. [Photos: The Secret Lives of Corals]
  Staghorn Coral Under Crashing Waves

Staghorn Coral Under Crashing Waves

Credit: Sirachai Arunrugstishai / Getty Images

"Perhaps the most interesting part of the video is how the new polyps appear from nowhere and begin to grow, "said Kragh Live Science in an email.

The coral in the video is a type of deer coral ( Acorpora sp.), A hard coral of calcium carbonate that is deposited on the polyp. Hard corals like these are responsible for the rocky structure of a coral reef. The tentacles of the polyps are tinged neon green, as tiny algae, so-called zooxanthellae, live in the polyp and produce bright pigments. Without the zooxanthellae, the polyps would be colorless. [Pretty in Pink: Photos of Bubblegum Coral]

While ocean acidification and rising temperatures threaten many coral reefs in the world, Coral Reef Alliance corals can be resistant. In the seventh clip of the video, 206-2, you can see where a broken piece of coral (in the middle) heals and new polyps grow.

Original article from Live Science .


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