Find out how corals grow and reproduce. Consider how the coral life cycle is similar or different to the life cycles of other animals in your local environment.
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The fertilised coral egg develops into a coral larva that lives in the open water. A coral larva is known as a planula.
OIST - Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
The larva, also known as a planula develops into a small polyp and settles on the seafloor. It follows chemical signals to find the best spot.
Once it is attached to the seafloor, the polyp develops into a full adult and begins to build a hard structure.
As the polyp grows, it divides into two smaller polyps, which are identical. These polyps grow and divide as well. This process is called ‘budding’.
As the coral polyps bud, they make their coral structures. Each species form a different shape.
XL Catlin Seaview Survey
Most corals spawn once a year, releasing eggs and sperm into the open water to fertilise.