BRAIN CORAL
Diplora sp.

Habitat: Brain coral typically is found in shallow marine environments, between 20 to 40 feet deep.

Average adult size: Colonies can grow to be 6 feet across.

Natural history: Brain coral colonies form large, round domes or "heads." Hard corals are the basis of the tropical coral reef. The individual coral animal is called a polyp. Each huge coral reef begins with a single polyp. The polyp attaches to a hard surface and excretes a cup-like skeleton to live in. To grow and expand, the polyp produces a clone of itself, right next door. The lines of polyps fold and twist into hills and valleys. Thousands of the polyp's hard skeletons become the reef we see. During the day, the polyp is withdrawn. At night, the polyp extends its tentacles to catch drifting plankton.

Range: Found in the Bahamas, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.


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