The Palm tree polyp is a colonial, encrusting mat-like coral whose eight tentacles have feathery pinnules resembling the branches of a palm tree, thus its common name. The polyps can be found in a variety of colors including brown, cream, green, pink, purple, white and yellow, while the mat that contains the polyps is brown, gray or tan.
The Colt coral is a soft, branching coral that is found in Indo-Pacific coral reefs. It does not have the calcium carbonate skeleton of the reef building corals. It is a hardy aquarium species and is commonly cultured. Like other corals, its tissues are home to photosynthetic algae known as zooxanthellae which provide the coral with oxygen and nutrients.
The Red mushroom anemone is also known as Mushroom coral or Disc anemones. They can vary in shade from red to pink or purple and are a hardy aquarium species. Symbiotic algae, known as zooxanthellae, are responsible for the red color and also provide the coral with nutrients and oxygen. These corals readily reproduce in an aquarium by a cloning process known as budding.
The Carpet anemone is named for its large size which resembles a carpet. The short tentacles have the appearance of the “pile” of a carpet, and have powerful stinging nematocysts. Many Carpet anemones serve as symbiotic hosts to clownfish who can hide within the anemone without being stung. Some Carpet anemones can grow to more than three feet in diameter.
Named for their appearance, which can resemble a baseball glove, the Leather coral, or Toadstool coral is found in various shades of brown, green, or yellow with white or gold polyps. It can be difficult to identify leather corals because many of them are similar in appearance. As they grow older, they develop a folded appearance. Like other soft corals, Leather corals incorporate tiny, single celled algae, known as zooxanthellae in their tissues.
The Green star polyp is a hardy colonial invertebrate commonly kept in aquariums. Its characteristic bright green star-shaped polyps seem to glow in the sunlight. These tiny filter feeders can absorb organics from the water column, and like other corals, the polyps of this species also house zooxanthellae, photosynthetic algae cells which provide the coral with nutrients. A purple mat of tissue, known as a stolon, connects the multiple polyps, often covering the rock beneath it.
The Magnificent sea anemone, also call the Radianthus or Ritteri anemone for its previous name Radianthus ritteri, is one of the largest and most beautiful of the sea anemones and is a popular host for many species of clownfish. It can reach a size of about three feet in diameter. It is found in coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region from the Red Sea to Samoa. Although popular in the aquarium hobby, it has very specialized lighting and flow requirements and is known to move throughout the aquarium looking for its particular niche.
The Strawberry anemone is a colonial invertebrate found in the temperate waters of the North American Pacific coast, from British Columbia to California. It feeds on small zooplankton such as copepods, capturing them in its stinging tentacles. Like other colonial invertebrates, the Strawberry anemone can reproduce by budding, which produces identical clones of each polyp. Clones of these anemones have been known to cover more than 10.8 square feet of the ocean floor.