Corals are tiny animals, related to jellies. A single coral is called a polyp; it has a soft body topped by a ring of stinging tentacles. Most corals live together in groups, called colonies.
Coral colonies come in all shapes and sizessome look like brains, some like lettuce leaves, and some like antlers.
To build a coral reef, live corals grow on top of coral skeletons, generation after generation. The beautiful colors in reefs come from the live coral that has settled on top of the skeletons. Coral reefs can stretch for miles and last for thousands of years.
What's for dinner?
capture prey with their stinging tentacles. They also get nutrients from algae that lives inside their tissue. Like all plants, the algae need sunshine to grow, so coral thrives in clear, shallow water.