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Coral Reef Inhabitants

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

  • SEA LIFE, Coral Kingdom

Discover our coral reef species

Coral reefs 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. Wow! Coral reefs provide such a large fraction of Earth's biodiversity that they have been called 'the rain forests of the sea'!

On your journey to SEA LIFE London Aquarium you and your family will spot a wide arrange of unique coral reef creatures. Keep scrolling below to discover some of the vibrant species you might meet!

Clownfish 1


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.


Blue Tang

The familiar and friendly Regal Blue tang is renowned for its distinctive royal blue body and tail. They are also commonly known as Palette surgeonfish and the Hippo tang. Regal Blue tangs can grow up to 20-30 centimetres in length and are typically found amongst coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific Oceans, East Africa, Japan, Samoa, New Caledonia and Australia. Juveniles mostly feed on plankton while the diets of the adult tangs are omnivorous, feeding on plankton and algae.



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.


Copperband Butterflyfish

The copperband butterflyfish has a few distinct features! It's long snout allows it to hunt tiny invertebrates and pull them from small spaces. The black spot looks like a fake eye and tricks predators into attacking it's fin instead of its head. This gives the fish a better chance of escaping!

Emperor Angelfish

Emperor Angelfish

Angelfishes of the genus Pomacanthus are known for their dramatic colour changes with growth. The species occurs on coral reefs, however juveniles are often seen under ledges near cleaner shrimp.

The black stripe over an Emperor Angelfish's eye helps to disguise them. Predators often look for eyes to help them identify prey.

Yellow Tang

Yellow Tang

Tang fish are also known as Surgeonfish because of the scapel-like spines on either side of their body at the base of their tail. They use these in self defence. You'll see many different colourful species of Tang in Coral Kingdom including this species, the Yellow Tang!

Reeffish 1

Adapt to survive!

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.

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