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Coral Reef Inhabitants

Coral Reefs are one of the most beautiful and important habitats on Earth.

  • SEA LIFE, Coral Kingdom

They cover less than 1% of the ocean floor, yet over 25% (that's 1 quarter) of marine species depend on this habitat in some way for survival.

The Coral itself might look like rock or plant but it is actually a type of animal! From the same family as Jellyfish and Sea Anemones, Corals are made up of millions of individual polyps all growing on top of each other. Each of these polyps lives within a shell but sticks out little stinging tentacles to catch plankton in the current. Coral polyps share their shell with algae which provides them with most of their food using photosynthesis. In exchange the Coral offers the algae a safe house so they both get a good deal!

When Corals are stressed by pollution, temperature or acidity changes, they spit out the algae from their shells. This is known as Coral bleaching as it is the algae which gives them colour and without it they turn white. Coral cannot survive for long without this algae.


Did you know that Clownfish live in the venomous tentacles of Sea Anemones?

They are one of the only ocean creatures that can do this as they are protected by a layer of slimy mucus on their skin! Clownfish like to live in Sea Anemones so that they are protected from predators and can nibble on leftover food the Sea Anemone catches.

In return, they help keep Sea Anemones and the area around them clean by eating up algae and other reef debris. 

If you see a clownfish couple in a Sea Anemone, the larger of the two will be the female, and the smaller the male.

They are called clownfish because of their bright clown colouring and all clownfish are born as boys. Once the females die, the largest male will change sex.

More Amazing Coral Reef Inhabitants

Coral Reefs are packed with creatures, all living together in a small space so things get very competitive! Reef inhabitants have to have some nifty tricks up their sleeve to ensure that they catch enough food and evade their predators. Check out some of these incredible creatures who you'll find in Dive Discovery or Nemo's Kingdom during your visit!

Copperbanded Butterfly Fish