Skip to comments.FIRST PICTURES: "Predator" Corals Eat Jellyfish
Posted on 11/20/2009 4:08:43 PM PST by JoeProBono
Sorry, kidsscientists have not discovered the first known bubblegum-blowing sea creature. But they have found the only known corals to eat adult jellyfish, a new study says.
Opening wide--yes, that's a mouth--a mushroom coral ingests a roughly 4-and-a-half-inch-wide (12-centimeter) moon jellyfish (pictured) in the Red Sea in March 2009.
And this coral wasn't alone. The study, led by scientists from Israel's Bar-Ilan University and Tel Aviv University, witnessed other corals dining on the jellyfish.
Marine ecologist Jennifer Smith, who wasn't part of the study, agreed the find was unique, though she's "not entirely surprised."
Mushroom corals, which have soft bodies, have no eyes and can barely move of their own accord, marine ecologist Jennifer Smith.
"When you're dependent on things drifting [for food], anything helps," the Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor added. "You'll take any opportunity, as long as it doesn't kill you."
A mushroom, or fungiid, coral slowly devours an adult jellyfish in the Red Sea in March 2009.
"If a single polyp is going to be able to consume an adult jellyfish," marine ecologist Jennifer Smith said, the relatively large "fungiids would be the most likely" kind of coral polyp to do so, she said.
"We certainly don't think of corals as predators," she added. "Marine life never ceases to amaze me."
Like a jello shooter!
What’re the eco-freaks going cry about now that their pet coral is actually a predator?
Hey, lookie here!
Couldn’t resist. :)
That is *very* interesting. Thanks!
Can’t say that is a surprise. Just because they don’t move a lot doesn’t mean the little critters aren’t hungry.