By Rebecca Hogue Wojahn
Welcome to a Caribbean coral reef! As you snorkel simply offshore, you spot very good fish, waving sea anemones, diving turtlesmaybe even a prowling barracuda! The coral reef is filled with lifefrom coral polyps snagging plankton to a moray eel gobbling up a goby fish. Day and evening at the coral reef, the search is directly to locate foodand to prevent turning into an individual elses subsequent meal. All dwelling issues are attached to each other in a nutrients chain, from animal to animal, animal to plant, and plant to animal. What direction will you're taking to stick to the foodstuff chain in the course of the coral reef?
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Extra info for A Coral Reef Food Chain-A Who-Eats-What Adventure in the Caribbean Sea
Bits off a sponge. To see what another sponge is up to, tur n to page 36. Banded coral shrimp 52 (Stenopus hispidus) The banded coral shrimp crawls out of the giant Caribbean sea anemone where it lives among the poisonous tentacles. She tiptoes up and over the coral to a top ledge. Once there, she starts waving her long antennas. Two of her neighbors scurry up to join her. Swaying back and forth, they dance. They are trying to attract customers. Their tricks get noticed. A grouper pulls up in front of the shrimp.
When something gets stuck in it, the polyp reels it in and snacks on its trapped prey. Over time, the polyp links up with nearby polyps. Sometimes it even clones itself—it creates another identical polyp. These polyps unite and work so closely together that they share food and even their skeletons. As old ones die, new ones build on. Eventually, years and years later, these polyps will be big enough to form a mound of coral under the water. Some coral reefs in the ocean were started in this way more than 50 million years ago.
To see what another sponge is up to, turn to page 36 . . a black sea urchin creeping along an organ pipe coral. To see what is another sea urchin . up to, tu rn to page 50 . . plankton drift the water. To see ing in other plankto what to, tu r n to page n are up 18 . . a fan worm waving in the current. To see what another fan worm is up to, tur n to page 38. . coral polyps. To see what a group of coral polyps is up to, turn to page 44. . coral. To see what a group of coral is up to, tur n to page 46.