The Blue Coral (Heliopora coerulea) is a species of hard marine (saltwater) coral in the Helioporidae family of octocorals. It is an animal, not a plant.
The Blue Coral has a blue skeleton made of calcium carbonate. Often it is hidden by individual greenish-grey or blue polyps that live in tubes within the skeleton. Each polyp has eight tentacles.
It is found in the eastern and western Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and around Japan. It prefers tropical waters, inter-tidal reef flats, and upper coral reef slopes.
The Blue Coral lives in colonies – either column colonies, plate colonies, or branched colonies.
Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM