Fautin, Daphne G. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
- Reproduction and propagation
- Skeletal features
- Fossil record
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A subclass of cnidarian class Anthozoa that includes stony and black corals and sea anemones; also known as Zoantharia. With few exceptions, these animals are benthic as adults, living attached to firm substrata or burrowed into soft sediments; they occur at all latitudes, and from the high intertidal zone to the deepest parts of the oceans. As in all anthozoans, the adult form is a polyp—a cylindrical organism that has, at its free end, the single body opening, the mouth, which is surrounded by retractile, rarely branched, tubular tentacles (Fig. 1). The tentacles number from six to several hundred, but typically the number is approximately a multiple of six, which gives the subclass its name, Hexacorallia. The opposite end of the polyp is attached to or burrowed into the substratum, or it emerges from the tissue that unites the members of the colony. See also: Anthozoa; Cnidaria
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