Some coral basics to help get you started
Common name(s): Corallimorphs or False corals
Corallimorphs come from the same class (Anthozoa) as due hard corals, soft corals, sea anemones and sea fans. Corallimorph's often have a similar appearance to sea anemones due to their always short tenticles, while their body format looks more similar to hard corals, they differ in that they do not posses a stony skeleton
Corallimorphs usually have two types of tentacles: one type found on the edge of the oral disk and another kind on the surface of the oral disk. Their tentacles are usually short, some so short that the tentacles are merely bumps.
Corallimorphs also have stingers like other Cnidarians. Some large corallimorphs can reach 30cm across or more and can eat fish! These fishes are trapped in the muscular oral disc, similar to the way a Venus Flytrap plant catches its prey. One specie (Paracorynactis hoplites) preys on the crown-of-thorns starfish.
Corallimorphs also produce toxins that seem to injure or kill hard corals or other encrusting organisms that settle near them.
Corallimorphs are distinguished by an upturned mouth in the center of the oral disk. Most other sea anemones and corals have inward turning mouths.
Corallimorphs also have a narrow body column, although this is usually hidden by the broad oral disk. The body column is usually buried in the ground or attached to a surface. Some corallimorphs tuck their oral disk into their body columns when they are exposed out of water, so they look like blobs.
Corallimorpharians occur in a wide range of marine habitats, and are associated with phase shifts in coral reef ecosystems that result in a change from a hard-coral dominated reef to a soft-coral dominated one.
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