Giant Carpet Anemone

The Giant Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) is a marine (saltwater) anthozoan cnidarian in the Stichodactylidae family of sea anemones. It is an animal, not a plant. 

The Giant Carpet Anemone is a polyp with folds of many tentacles around an oral (mouth) disc. It is dense with short, sticky tentacles. It can be various colours, such as brown, green, purple, pink, or blue. It is sessile –  it stays in one location on the sea floor; it does not move. 

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What are the similarities and differences between the Giant Clam and the Maxima Clam?

What are the similarities and differences between the Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa) and the Maxima Clam (Tridacna maxima)?

The Giant Clam and the Maxima Clam are both marine (saltwater), bivalve molluscs in the Cardiidae family. Bivalve means two valves (or two shells). They both prefer to live on the bottom of the ocean in shallow coral reefs.

The Giant Clam and the Maxima Clam both have a thick, ridged calcium carbonate shell, called a mantle. Their shells, which can open and close, have two equal-sized calcareous valves connected with a flexible adductor muscle. 

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Maxima Clam

The Maxima Clam (Tridacna maxima) is a marine (saltwater) bivalve mollusc in the Cardiidae family. It is also called the Small Giant Clam. It is related to the Cockle. 

The Maxima Clam has a thick shell called a mantle. Its shell is actually two equal-sized calcareous valves connected with a flexible adductor muscle. The shell can open and close. Bi-valve means two valves (or two shells). The mantle is bright-blue, green, or brown with distinctive furrows. It has a mouth, a heart, kidneys, a stomach, and a nervous system. 

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Plate Coral

The Plate Coral (Lithophyllon repandaor Fungia repanda) is a large marine (saltwater) polyp stony coral in the Fungiidae family of mushroom, disc, or plate coral. It is not a plant.

The Plate Coral is a colony of organisms, each with a separate mouth. It is shaped like a plate with a round, flat body, which is raised a little in the centre where the mouth is. It is covered with short tentacles, less than 2 centimetres (less than an inch) in height. It can be a variety of colours, from brownish to yellow, red, blue, or orange.

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Red Coral

The Red Coral (Corallium rubrum formally Gorgonia nobilis) is a marine (saltwater) coral in the Corallidae family of branched limestone coral. It is also called Precious Coral. Coral is an animal, not a plant.

The Red Coral is red or pink-orange. It has branches, made from calcium carbonate, that are tree-like. It has retractable transparent white polyps with a round mouth disc surrounded by eight hollow tentacles. The tentacles have mild venom (poison). It is sessile (it does not move). 

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Beadlet Anemone

The Beadlet Anemone (Actinia equina) is a marine (saltwater) invertebrate in the Actiniidae family of anemones, which means that is has no backbone. It is also known as the Sea Tomato. It is an animal, not a plant. 

The Beadlet Anemone is bright red with tentacles, and its mouth in the centre. It has short, conical tentacles arranged in rows of six or more, which is called the crown of tentacles. The crown surrounds its oral disc (mouth). The tips of the tentacles can be pointed or blunt. 

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Green Sea Anemone

The Green Sea Anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica) is a marine (saltwater) anemone in the Actiniidae family. It is also known as the Giant Green Anemone, the Giant Tidepool Anemone, or the Rough Anemone. It is an animal, not a plant. 

The Green Sea Anemone is a broad, flat, disc with its mouth in the centre. It is bright green when exposed to sunlight, and dark-green or brown when not exposed to sunlight. It has short, conical tentacles arranged in rows of six or more, which is called the crown of tentacles. The crown surrounds its oral disc (mouth). The tips of the tentacles can be pointed or blunt. 

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Bluegreen Giant Clam

The Bluegreen Giant Clam (Tridacna derasa) is a marine (saltwater) reef bi-valve mollusc in the Cardiidae family. It is also called the Southern Giant Clam. It is related to the Cockle.

The Bluegreen Giant Clam is smoother than most clams, because it lacks ridging. It has a thick shell, called a mantle. Its shell is actually two equal-sized calcareous valves connected with a flexible adductor muscle. The shell can open and close. Bi-valve means two valves (or two shells). It has 6-7 rippled edges, called folds or flute. It does not have scutes (scales). The mantle has stripes or spots and is blue and green, with some white patches. It has a mouth, a heart, kidneys, a stomach, and a nervous system.

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Giant Clam

The Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa) is a marine (saltwater) reef bi-valve mollusc (mollusk).  It is also called the Fluted Giant Clam or the Scaly Clam. It is related to the Cockle.

The Giant Clam has a thick brown, green, or purple-coloured ridged shell, called a mantle. Its shell is actually two equal-sized calcareous valves connected with a flexible adductor muscle. The shell can open and close. Bi-valve means two valves (or two shells). The mantle has 6-7 rippled edges, called folds or flutes. It has scales, called scutes. It has spotted patterns on the mantle. It has a mouth, a heart, kidneys, a stomach, and a nervous system.

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Haitian Sea Anemone

The Haitian Sea Anemone (Condylactis gigantean) is a tropical marine ball-type animal. It is also called the Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone. The Haitian Sea Anemone is found as individuals or small, loose groups, but never in colonies like coral. It is related to coral and jellyfish.

The Haitian Sea Anemone is a large columnar sessile (non-moving) animal of many colours: white, pink, orange, pale-red, or light-brown. Its body has an adhesive pedal (foot) disc, a cylindrical body, and a central mouth surrounded by 100 or more tentacles. The tentacles often have a coloured tip (such as purple or pink).

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Feather Duster Worm

The Feather Duster Worm (Sabellastarte spectabilis) is a tropical marine worm, or bristleworm – a polychaete. It is also called the Fan Worm. Some are sedentary (sessile) and some are mobile (errant). It is an annelid. It looks like a plant, but it is an animal.

The sedentary Feather Duster Worm lives in an elongated tube. The tube looks like a rolled-up parchment. It has segments that have appendages, called setae, or bristles, or tentacles, that look like a feather duster. The appendages are brown with white bands.

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Toadstool Coral

Toadstool Coral (Sarcophyton) is a marine invertebrate animal that looks like a toadstool mushroom.

Corals are in the phylum Cnidaria, and the class Anthozoa. Corals are divided into three sub-classes: Hexacorallia, Octocorallia, and Ceriantharia. Toadstool Coral is in the Octocorallia sub-class – the soft corals.

Toadstool Coral usually has a rounded trunk (base or stem) that is firmly attached to a rock or substance (it cannot move – it is sessile). On top of the trunk is a round, flat cap called a capitulum. The capitulum can be ruffled or folded. Numerous individual polyps (tentacles) arise from the capitulum, which wave back and forth in the ocean currents. The polyps can retract within the capitulum at night and come out during the day.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Brain Coral

Brain Coral (Diploria labyrinthiformis) is also known as Grooved Brain Coral. Corals are in the phylum Cnidaria, and the class Anthozoa. Corals are divided into three sub-classes: Hexacorallia, Octocorallia, and Ceriantharia. Brain Coral is in the Hexacorallia sub-class, and in the genus Diploria. It is a marine invertebrate (without a backbone). It is an animal (not a plant).

Brain Coral is a stony or hard coral. It looks like the human brain. It is hemispherical and can be brown, yellow, or grey. It has deep valleys and long snake-like ridges.

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