REEF ORGANISMS

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A soft coral commonly known as "dead man's fingers"; found mostly on the reef flat.

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Anemone coral Goniopora with lits long delicate polyps.

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Mushroom corals Fungia are free-living, unlike their counter-parts which are permanently attached on the reef.

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The bubble coral Euphyllia ancora has fleshy tentacle ends which are kidney-shaped.

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The feather-duster worm, Sabellastarte sp. lives in a leathery tube lodged within the coral colony. Its 'plume' consists of modified head appendages used for trapping plankton from the water

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The polyps of some hard corals, like this maze coral Platygyra grow in an intricate pattern

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The stick-like sea-fans "come alive" when the currents in the reef become strong. Their polyps extend the delicate tentacles to harvest the rich plankton life carried by the currents.

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These brilliantly coloured cave corals Tubastraea do not possess symbiotic algae. As their name suggests, they flourish in deeper and darker areas of the reef.

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The starfish is a common reef slope and sea-floor dweller.

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Clownfish have a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones. While they can safely nestled in the tentacles of their hosts, other fishes are paralysed by the battery of stinging cells

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Hard corals exhibit different growth forms; here carnation coral, Pectinia grows in a foliose form

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A shy butterflyfish Chaetodon octofasciatus. Like other butterflyfishes, it has a modified mouth to feed on individual coral polyps.

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Crabs are cryptic during the day, emerging at night from their reef crevices to hunt for food.

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The striking colours of this nudibranch Phyllidia warn its potential predators of its repungent taste. Nudibranchs are omnivore foragers.

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Sponges are a common sight on reefs. Many species contain compounds that are biologically active.

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The tiger cowrie Cypraea tigris. It is partly covered by its mantle, a special folds of skin which secretes and maintains its characteristically mottled shell.

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