How Polyps Eat

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How do polyps eat?

At night coral polyps come out of their skeletons to feed. A polyp uses tentacles to sting and capture tiny floating animals called zooplankton. The polyp’s mouth swallows the zooplankton. The zooplankton is digested in the polyp’s stomach. Some coral polyps feed by exchanging energy with tiny algae called zooxanthellae (pronounced zo-zan-THEL-ee). Zooxanthellae live inside the polyps’ tissues and create the brilliant colors seen in many corals.

Hard Coral PolypsSoft Coral Polyps

The algae in Lettuce Coral are green.

Lettace Coral

Click on a question or link below to learn more about corals:

What is a coral polyp?

How do polyps eat?

How are corals named?

Why are corals important to sea horses?

Do coral polyps have eyes?

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