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Feeding Different Corals

How do soft and hard corals differ, and how are those differences reflected in their foods and feeding?

By Ronald L. Shimek, Ph.D. |

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The moniker “coral” refers to a large array of different species — and it is necessary to realize how different these animals can be from one another when we aquarists try to provide the best care for them. As a comparison, consider the care of a pet bird versus a wild bird. The care of a budgie would be quite a bit different if that pet is a California condor with a 9-foot wingspan. Almost every aspect of their care would be different, yet they are both birds. A similar point may be made about corals.

The range of diversity among corals is far greater than the diversity found among birds. All birds arose from ancestors that were found within a small group of feathered dinosaurs, and frankly, no modern vertebrate taxonomist has any trouble grouping dinosaurs and birds together. But corals contain stony corals of about a dozen distinct, separate and different lineages; in some ways, a montiporid and a mussid are about as distinctive from one another as condors and budgies. But the immense diversity — and differences — among the stony corals is only a small part of the total diversity of corals.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the July 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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