Corals as Individuals – The Polyp
Welcome to our polyp tissue interactive Termigator – just click the terms in red to load captions and use the “more information” links to explore deeper. There are many terms that describe the tissues of the living coral animal, here we explore an introductory suite used by the Coral Finder and Coral Hub.
The individual coral animal is called the polyp. This simple sac-like animal secretes and lives in a skeleton cup made of calcium carbonate, called a corallite. Together the tissue and the skeleton of a coral colony is called the corallum (or coralla – plural). The linked articles illustrate the key terms relating to the polyp that you will need to understand to identify corals and negotiate the literature. For information on the corallite and skeleton select the tab labelled Coral as Individuals – The Corallite.
- links inside these captions for more info.
Hover over the main image to pause slideshow." title="EntryPolyp" width='170' height='135' />
- gut of the polyp is a sac that opens at one end with the mouth. The gut is the site of digestion." title="gut" width='170' height='135' />
- mouth receives food from the tentacles and expels waste from the gut. It is also used to launch gametes and planula larvae." title="mouth-dsc_0132" width='170' height='135' />
- oral disc." title="oraldisc-dsc_0132" width='170' height='135' />
- tentacles by pumping water in or out of its tissues." title="tentacles-dsc_1087" width='170' height='135' />
- vesicles. During the day they often completely mask the coral colony - the genus Physogyra (below)." title="vesiclesdsc_0674" width='170' height='135' />
- Zooxanthellae are the algae that live within the tissues of reef building corals." title="zoox-in-tissue-kmwagner" width='170' height='135' />
- Veron, J. E. N. (2000). Corals of the World. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Marine Science.