CORAL: PLANT OR ANIMAL?
When we dive or just snorkeling, we will see a lot of colorful things called coral. Most people think those are plants, underwater flower, or maybe just rocks. Actually corals are animal which belong to group of animals known as Cnidaria. It includes jellyfish and sea anemones. These beautiful creatures consist of simple stomach and simple mouth surrounding by stinging tentacles.
Corals are divided into two big groups, hard coral and soft coral. Hard coral is a group of coral that has solid structure like a rock. The calcium-based structure is built from coral polyps’ calcium carbonate secretes.
Unlike hard coral, soft coral doesn’t produce calcium-based structure. To create a structure, soft coral produce spiky elements called sclerites. When a coral dies, only hard coral remains the calcium structure. There will be no trace for soft coral after it dies.
Jakarta Aquarium displays corals as part of the education to share the knowledge of Indonesian coral biodiversity. Visit us to learn more about corals and how our aquarists maintain our corals collection.