With as much as 6000 to 8000 different kinds of Coral Reefs existing in the ocean, there are also a large number of unique sea creatures inhabiting them. Whether it be fish, sea turtles, rays, sponges, or other creatures, many marine animals use these Coral Reefs to their advantage for living, eating, hiding, or cleaning. Below are detailed descriptions of different kinds of Creatures that live amongst the Corals. Each creature is known to use the Corals to their own unique advantage.
Clown Fish in Anemones: Clown Fish host in Anemone’s, a genus of 120 species of flowering plants existing in the ocean. Clown Fish, or otherwise known as Anemonefish, are bright orange with white stripes. Clown Fish can swim amongst the stingy Anemones without getting stung, unlike other creatures. Scientists have theorized that they can do this due to their protective slime coatings that they have over their bodies. Living in the Anemone allows them to be protected from all of their predators. The Anemone eats scraps of food the clownfish drops, giving it nutrients. This means that the clownfish and Anemone’s relationship is mutualistic.
The Spotfin Lionfish: This creature has venomous and extended spines and is typically found in reefs in Florida, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Coast. They are aggressive predators and threaten local species. They often hide in crevices under rocks or coral formations during the day and hunt at night. They feed on shrimps and crabs. They have a venomous and painful sting.
Green Sea Turtle: This unique turtle is covered in greenish colored fat due to its diet, algae and seagrasses. It weighs as much as 500 pounds and lives its life at sea. Its habitat includes Desserts, Shrubland, Flooded Grasslands, Mangroves and Savannas. The turtles are long-lived, with a life-span of 75 years.
Mandarinfish Duo: Covered in blue, yellow, red, and orange wavy stripes, these eye-catching fish live in Western Pacific Tropical Coral Reef ecosystems. Instead of fish scales, these fish are covered in a thick, mucus coating. Their habitat includes the aquarium, coral reefs, and sea water environment. They can be found on silty bottoms, usually in small groups, of the sea.
Surgeonfish: These roaming fish typically feed on algae. This grazing helps balance the algae and coral on the reef. They are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region and the Eastern Pacific Region. Their habitat includes Marine habitat, and Sea Water Environment. They are abundant in tide pools and are often feeding in freshwater environments.
Fireworm on Fire Coral: This creature is known to suck on Fire Coral. They are typically about 15 cm long but can reach up to twice as much as that. They have venom-filled bristles that can break off human skin, causing an intense burning sensation. This is where they get the name “Fire Worm” from. They are also often referred to as “Bearded Fireworms” due to their bristles. Their habitat consists of the Marine Biome.
ButterflyFish: Endemic to the reefs of Southern Japan, this subtropical marine fish can be found in groups of 10 or more. They are usually found in cool waters at depths of 10-20 feet on outer reef areas. They have a metallic black color with yellow tips. Their habitat includes the aquarium, the island, and the marine biome.
Toothy Goby: Commonly known as Toothy or Ghost Goby, this creature lives among soft coral and sponges in the Indo-Pacific ocean. Although the Goby benefits from the habitat of the Corals, the Coral does not gain anything in return. This makes the relationship Commensal. There are around 2000 species of Gobies. Gobies will often live with Pistol Shrimps, with shrimp tending the burrow and gobies looking out for predators.
Pygmy Seahorse: Found in Indonesia’s biodiverse Coral Triangle, the Pygmy Seahorse is one of the smallest seahorse species in the world. They are commonly known for changing colors like a chameleon to blend into their environment. This keeps them safely away from predators. They specifically and only live on gorgonian corals of the genius Muricella, with up to 28 pairs on just one gorgonian. They are so hard to spot due to their camouflage skills that the original specimens were only noticed after being collected and observed in an aquarium. Their habitat consists of Marine Biome, Sea Water Environment, and Marine Reef Biome.
These are just a few of the vast majority of beautiful and rare creatures that are found living in and amongst the Coral Reefs. Deep sea Divers and adventurers may come across these creatures when exploring or researching. The creatures use their habitats for nutrients and other specific needs. Some may have mutualistic relationships with the Corals, while some may have Commensal relationships with the corals. Either way, The Corals and the Creatures work together in harmony, creating a colorful and beautiful ocean.
- OceanPortal. Bizarre and Beautiful Coral Reef Animals. 2015.