Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Black Coral

I had heard that corals were animals (even though they look like plants to me!). Working in the Collection Room though means I have been in contact with some amazing Black coral and have learnt a bit more about them.
Corals are animals that live in a compact colony of heaps of tiny polyps. They secrete calcium carbonate (same stuff shells are made of) to form a hard skeleton.

Black corals are branch-like and are related to sea anemones.  They uniquely have tiny spines that can be very sharp and they cover the surface of the skeleton.
Dean and Black Coral.
There are around 58 black coral species in NZ and they mainly are found in dark waters between 200 – 1000m in depth.  Because the waters are so dark in the Fiordland National Park though, they can be found as shallow as 10m depth.
Black Corals are a protected species and it is illegal to collect this unless you have a special permit. Even then, with a special permit- you can only pass it on to someone else if they have a special permit too!

oh, and an octopus today as well!

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