Coral Reefs

Different Kinds of Coral
Corals come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colour. But there are two types of corals: Soft Corals and Hard Corals.

Sea Plumes are Soft Corals

Brain Corals are Hard Corals

Image of Sea Plume Coral Image of Brain Coral


Soft Corals
Called soft corals because they do not have hard, rigid permanent skeletons, this group is made up of the Gorgonians and the Black Corals.

Gorgonian colonies are attached to aImage of Soft Coral Polyp hard surface by a single anchor at the base of a stem. This stem is like a tree trunk. And like a tree, gorgonians have branches. Different gorgonians have different branching patterns. The inter connected net-like branching is typical for sea fans while sea whips and sea plumes have pinnate branching pattern. The polyps live beneath the branch surface but extend their tentacles and bodies through surface openings celled apertures. The illustrations below show the various branching patterns of gorgonians.


Which one looks the most familiar to you?

Image of Soft Corals

What kinds of coral do you see? Yes, sea fans and sea plumes! Do you see any other kinds of corals?

Image of types of coral

CONTINUE: Black Coral »