Blue Soft Coral
These soft corals (or octocorals, distant cousins of the hexacorals, or hard corals) exist as small fragile, bright blue-grey individuals (polyps) that form extensive colonies, side-by-side, in rock pools. Polyps open and close in a pulsating rhythm, often syncronised within the colony. Their texture is very mucusy when exposed to air – perhaps a protective mechanism to prevent drying out and subsequent death. They feed by filtering the seawater, and like hard corals (hexacorals), they also have symbiotic microscopic plants (zooxanthellae) within their tissues, that promote energy and growth of the coral through symbiosis.
This species is found on southern Queensland rock platforms, with related species known to occur throughout the Indo-West Pacific.
Blue Soft Coral (Anthelia sp.), Wild Guide to
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