Coral's Anatomy

You may have encountered the term cnidarians once in biology perhaps but you forgot the meaning of the word. Let me refresh your mind a bit with the meaning of this term. Cnidarians are small group of animals found in the sea and the most common example of this family-corals. Yes, the uniquely-shaped and diversely colored corals belong to this family. You may have seen corals more than once in your lifetime and wondered how corals are made. We are going to know more about the anatomy of coral polyps and how they are made into what we see now.

A coral is produced by the accumulation of tiny organisms that are called polyps. They are tiny elongated organisms that resemble the form of a tube. What is unique about this organism is that it is symmetrical, meaning one side is just like the other and when cut transversely, both becomes equally identical. They have tentacles that they use to procure food. The maximum number of tentacles that the polyps have is eight. There are different types of cells that make up the coral. Nematocysts for example, are found in the tentacles. They have toxins that they secrete to stun the small organisms, mostly crustaceans, and later on devour as food. They act as a defense and at the same time as a weapon to capture its prey. Another would be the glandular cells found in the middle cavity of the polyps. It releases enzymes that help polyps break the food they engulf after stunning it with toxins. Epithelio-muscular cells have a different function since they help polyps to voluntarily contract allowing movement. The mucus-producing cells release viscous liquid that helps remove foreign particles out of the polyp's body. It basically cleans the internal and external parts of the polyp. When it comes to the reproduction of polyps, the interstitial cell is responsible for the differentiation between the male and female cells.

Some polyps are nocturnal when it comes to feeding, meaning they actively feed on night more than during the day. They protect themselves by keeping their tentacles during the day and would protract their tentacles offensively during night time in order to capture its prey. Corals are produced by the hardening of calcium carbonate that is released from the skeleton of polyps after they die and can be classified as soft and hard corals, depending on whether protein is predominant in the remains or not. Corals are indeed unique and deserve to be protected since it is home to hundreds of other life forms found in the sea and ocean floor.

To better appreciate the under water, one must bring along a fog spray that keeps glasses and goggles clear all the time. Goggles with no fog only means one thing, clear vision on everything you wish to see down under.


Post a Comment