Barbados: Coral Formations: Coral polyps
The exquisite coral flowers are in fact congregations of tiny animals, called polyps a few millimeters in size. Coral polyps eat plankton, an organism even smaller than themselves. Tiny stinging tentacles reach out from the coral's soft inner body, to paralyze the plankton, which they grab and eat.
The calcium formations that we see as corals are the outer bodies of
thousands of these minute animals huddled together to form intricate patterns
There are in fact two types of coral, some have a hard shell like skeleton while others have a soft exterior of protein.