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Biology

Unlike reef-building corals, many black corals do not possess the symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae, within their tissues. They are therefore not restricted to shallow, sunlit waters where the zooxanthellae can photosynthesise, and instead are able to inhabit great depths and the dark waters of caves or under ledges (2). However, lacking zooxanthellae means that the coral must obtain nutrients by another method; black corals are carnivores and capture zooplankton in their tentacles as ocean currents move over the polyps (2). Relatively little is known about the life cycle and reproduction of black corals. This is partly due to the depths which they inhabit, making it difficult to undertake research. An Antipathes colony may live for over 70 years (2) (5).

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Source: ARKive

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