The Fragile Beauty of Coral Reefs
Juvenile Orangefin anemonefish (Amphiprion chrysopterus) hiding itself deep in the mouth of its host Aurora anemone. Fiji.
The polyps and algae which together form coral reefs provide a ready food source for many other sea creatures, and the reef's caves and crevices are first rate locations for breeding or hiding from predators. Reefs are therefore home to 25% of all marine life: from the polyps to fish to mammals to turtles to crustaceans to molluscs.
There are as many as 800 different types of rock forming corals, and up to 4000 individual species can co-exist on a single reef at a density 100x greater than the average for the open ocean. Some estimates put the total diversity of life found in, on and around all coral reefs at up to 2 million species.