Wenlock creatures: Corals (Anthozoans)


The coral shown in this image is a tabulate coral called Syringopora fascicularis.

Click image to view full size.

Detail of coral feeding

This picture shows a close-up view of a modern coral feeding.

What are corals (anthozoans)?

Corals are simple animals closely related to sea anemones and jellyfish. Modern corals belong to a group called the Scleractinians, which first appeared 240 million years ago. In earlier rocks, including the Wenlock limestone, two different types of corals are found: Tabulate corals and Rugose corals

Corals live either singly or in colonies. Many have solid calcium carbonate skeletons which can develop into very large, complex structures.

DietCorals are predators, using stinging cells on their tentacles to catch prey.

Key facts about Wenlock corals

Reef builderBecause corals have massive calcium carbonate skeletons, they were an important part of the Wenlock Reef.

Abundance through geological time

AbundanceTabulate and Rugose corals first arose in the Cambrian, and became extinct at the end of the Permian. Scleractinian corals are first found in Triassic rocks, and are common today.

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