Diving with
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understanding marine life

UNDERSTAND MARINE LIFE
SOFT CORAL – TREE CORAL

This is a soft coral, also known as soft tree coral and is one of the most beautiful soft corals of this type. Soft corals are easily to distinguish by their swaying jelly-like body from the hard corals.

RETREAT IF DANGER

The soft tree corals have got polyps that are the actual “animals” and that are catching floating plankton with their microscopic small tentacles. The polyps and their jelly-like body create a so-called colony where the single animals are connected with each other through delivery races. If there is danger – e.g. predators in the water or strong water movements – the polyps can move back into the body by pushing out the water from the inside. The entire body can also squeeze out water and shrink to a friction of its size thus it cannot be identified as a “tree” anymore.

TAKE A CLOSER LOOK

The diver spots the coral totally unfolded in a size of 20 cm or bigger during a night dive when the food supply is at its best. To unfold, the body and the polyps are supported by a skeleton on the inside.

Inside of its jelly-body the soft tree coral contains limestone needles that are built by special cells and can be spotted with the naked eye. The limestone needles are loose in the body or grouped around the polyps and give the soft coral tree its wonderful colour from red to yellow or blue. Have a look…

THIS & THAT

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El-Quseir, Egypt
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7 km north of el Quseir

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