• How do coral get their colors?
The colors of the corals come from the plants cells (zoothanthallae) coral polyps have under their skin and from chemicals in the water.
• How many different kinds of corals are there?
There are over 2,500 kinds (species) of corals. About half of these corals (about 1,000) are the hard corals that build coral reefs. Other corals are soft corals. Soft corals have skeletons that are flexible and can bend with the water. (Most of these corals can be found on the Australia Great Barrier Reef. In the Caribbean Sea there are only about 60 different kinds of corals.)
• Are corals plants or animals?
That is a question that scientists had trouble answering for a long time. Some scientists thought they were plants. Some scientists thought they were animals. That is because these strange creatures have plants cells in their bodies and depend on sunlight for food. The answer is that corals are animals that have plant cells living in their bodies.
• Have you ever been stung by fire coral?
Yes. Fortunately, if we are stung by fire coral the stingers are only sticking on the outside of our skin. We can rub off the stingers by picking up some sand on the bottom and rubbing it where we got stung. The sand works like sandpaper and rubs off the stingers so they won't sting us anymore.
• Where is the biggest coral reef in the world?
The biggest coral reef on the planet is along the northeast coast of Australia. Because corals are living creatures the Australia Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on planet Earth!
• Why is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia?
Corals only grow in salt water that is warm, clean, clear, and not very deep. There must be solid rocks for the corals to grow on, since corals can't grow on sand. The corals also need ocean currents to bring them food, since the corals are stuck to the bottom of the sea and can't look for food themselves. Corals also need lots of sunlight because they have plants cells in their bodies. The ocean off the east coast of Australia has everything corals need to grow so it is one of the biggest and best places for corals to grow on Earth.
Dive into our previous Internet Expeditions to see some of the places
we have found coral reefs around the world.