Kids’Corner: Amazing sea creatures -Shail Agrawal/Lekhni May-June 16

Sea is home to lot of amazing creatures, Whales, Shark, Dolphins, Otters, Seals, Tortoise, Water-snakes and an endless variety of fishes and crabs to name a few. Here we will focus on few which mesmerise with their unique shape and colour.

Hard Corals

Hard Coral
The Great Barrier Reef is home to about 360 species of hard corals including bottlebrush coral, bubble coral, brain coral, mushroom coral, staghorn coral, tabletop coral and needle coral. Hard corals, also known as stony corals, are a group of marine animals that live in shallow tropical waters and are responsible for building the structure of a coral reef. Colonies of hard corals grow in various shapes and sizes such as mounds, plates and branches. As previous coral colonies die, new ones grow on top of the limestone skeletons of their predecessors. Over time, this growth creates the three-dimensional architecture of a coral reef. Colonies of hard corals consist of thousands of small individual invertebrates referred to as coral polyps. Each polyp is radially symmetrical with a tube-like body that has a tentacle-rimmed mouth at the tip that it uses to feed.

Star Fish
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Star fish are very colourful and beautiful. Some live in deep water while some prefer to cling to rocks on the surface. Although we call them starfish, they are not fish. They do not have gills, scales, or fins like fish do and they move quite differently from fish. While fish propel themselves with their tails, sea stars have tiny tube feet to help them move along . There are more than 2000 species of star fish.

Sea Horse
sea horse
Seahorse is the name given to 54 species of small marine fishes . These fascinating creatures belong to “ Hippocampus “ genus. Hippo means Horse in Greek and “ Kampos “ meaning “ sea-monster.
Seahorses are truly unique, and not just because of their unusual equine shape. Unlike most other fish, they are monogamous and mate for life. Rarer still, they are among the only animal species on Earth in which the male bears the unborn young.
Male seahorses are equipped with a brood pouch on their ventral, or front-facing, side. When mating, the female deposits her eggs into his pouch, and the male fertilizes them internally. He carries the eggs in his pouch until they hatch, then releases fully formed, miniature seahorses into the water.

Because of their body shape, seahorses are rather inept swimmers and can easily die of exhaustion when caught in storm. They propel themselves by using a small fin on their back that flutters up to 35 times per second. Even smaller pectoral fins located near the back of the head are used for steering.

Found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, these upright-swimming relatives of the pipefish can range in size from 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) to 14 inches (35 centimeters) long.
Seahorses have no teeth and no stomach. Food passes through their digestive systems so quickly, that they must eat almost constantly to stay alive