Most corals have many polyps that live in clusters called ‘colonies.’ Polyps are tiny animals that use their tentacles to capture food. (See Hard Tree Corals. Most of the corals pictured here are not feeding.) Some polyps live alone. The Mushroom Coral is a large, single polyp. The type of polyp determines the size and shape of the colony. Polyps may also have hard or soft skeletons. When polyps with hard skeletons die, their tiny bones create a rock called ‘limestone.’ Coral reefs are made of limestone or the crushed bones of many, many millions of polyps!
Art copyright 2011 by Tammy Carter Bronson.