It’s not just the school of fishes and marine life that makes coral reefs fascinating to us humans, and corals are one of the primary reasons why marine life is blooming the way it should be. Their colorful appearance, unique colors, movements, and life itself makes them extraordinary and fascinating.
Corals are without a doubt among the reasons why marine life is thriving; without them, fishes have no shelter from predators or just a place to call home. If you are fascinated with corals just like us, then you are in for a treat! Here’s the list of the 10 amazing types of corals that are important to our marine environment.
First on our list is the Elkhorn Coral. The Elkhorn coral is among the most abundant types of coral in the Caribbean sea. This type of sea coral can grow to lengths of up to 12 feet long and 6 feet in height. Elkhorn coral is a fascinating sight to behold, from being one of the widest types of coral and being one of the more colorful ones.
It is also home to various types of marine life, such as Caribbean reef octopus and various schools of fish. However, although they grow in bunches, they are considered threatened due to a disease called white band disease.
The staghorn coral is also among the most important types of corals in the world. They are considered “reef-building corals” because they grow rapidly and in bunches too. Staghorn corals are also one of the fastest-growing corals and are home to thousands of marine species. One of their distinct characteristics is their textured and pointed branches which help forms coral gardens in shallow water regions.
Just like with staghorn corals, the leaf corals are also considered reef-building corals. They are grown in colonies in Indo-Pacific waters and thrive in a more deepwater environment. They grow fast and have a distinct conical shape combined with their ruffled edges. Another unique characteristic this coral has is having muted colors such as brown, yellow, and green.
Open brain coral
The Open brain coral is among the more popular types of corals globally as it is also used in fish tanks at home. Open brain coral has an odd-looking shape, just like they all do. It almost resembles the number 8 and has plenty of extraordinary and superb colors. One of the reasons this type of coral is popular is its colors, and there’s just a lot of colors with this coral.
Another type of coral that is important to the marine ecosystem is the bubble coral. As the name suggests, they closely resemble a bubble-like appearance and shelter to various types of fish. They are usually found in depths of up to 35 meters and are often mistaken as larvae or fish eggs due to their appearance. Bubble corals are often found in mid-pacific, red sea, and Indian waters.
The gorgeous carnation species or its scientific name Dendronephthya can be found around the Western Pacific waters, Indian Sea, and the Red Sea. This type of coral thrives in waters with strong currents and usually grows underneath a rocky overhang or behind walls.
Whenever the current is strong, the carnation coral blooms and expands in order for them to feed. However, whenever current is low or non-existent, they tend to droop.
Venus sea fan coral
The Venus Sea fan coral is among the most elegant-looking types of corals in the world. It has a high concentration in the West Indian waters and Bahamas. This type of coral grows into a group of branchlets that has a ground base. It comes in various colorful shades such as yellow, lavender, and even off-whites.
They prefer shallow waters combined with strong waves and a depth not exceeding 10 meters, and because they prefer shallow waters, they are favorites among snorkelers and divers all over the world.
Another type of coral famous among home-aquarists, the Vase coral or known as Monti is predominantly existent in the Indo-Pacific waters, especially in waters around the Red Sea. Its preferred habitat is around warmer waters and at the upper portion of the reef. It tends to be popular among home-aquarists because it can thrive in captivity very well.
In fact, its symbiotic relationship with single-celled dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae that perform photosynthesis helps them thrive even more. Whenever a vase coral is given plenty of sunlight, it can live off the zooxanthellae's photosynthesis.
Sun corals thrive in waters around the Red Sea, Western Indian Ocean, Indo-Pacific, and southern pacific. As their name suggests, they resemble close to the sun, and their primary habitat is just near or around the insides of a cave.
It could also be underneath an overhang, and whenever it's time for them to feed, their tentacles extend and are ready to receive their food planktons. Sun corals are famous among divers and snorkelers due to the diversity in their colors, and they can range from shades of yellow, pink, orange, and red.
The lettuce corals are abundant in Atlantic and Caribbean waters. Lettuce corals, as you may already know, have a lettuce-like appearance. This is one of the most dominant types of coral species in the world.
In fact, they are one of the species of least concern. However, this type of coral is also vulnerable to coral bleaching, and in most cases, they are susceptible whenever water temperature rises.
Wrapping Things Up
There are definitely thousands of species of corals around the globe. Their appearance, abundance of colors, and importance alone make them one of the more majestic marine life creatures. They are home and haven for thousands of fishes and are a joy to witness whenever you go for a diving expedition or snorkeling adventure.
That said, as humans, we need to take care of our marine life’s habitat. It must start within ourselves and the rest will always follow.
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