What is the difference between hard coral and soft coral?

What is the difference between hard coral and soft coral?

Corals are marine (saltwater) invertebrate animals that usually form colonies of individual polyps, mainly in tropical reefs. 

Hard coral is also called stony coral.

Hard coral is in the sub-class Hexacorallia (hexa means six), whereas bue coral and soft coral are in the sub-class Octocorallia (octo means eight).

Hard coral is in the Scleractinia order, whereas soft coral is in the Alyconacea order.

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Bubble Coral

The Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) is a marine (saltwater) zooxanthellate coral in the Caryophylliidae family of stony corals, although this is not definitive according to some zoologists – they refer to its classification as Incertae sedis or Problematica (which means ‘uncertain placement’ or ‘problematic’). It is in the Cnidaria phylum. It is also known as Grape Coral, Pearl Coral, and Bladder Coral. 

The Bubble Coral ‘bubble’ is grape-sized and roundish. It is cream to yellowish to light beige. Bunched together, like grapes, they form a colony that looks like an inverted cone. 

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Knobby Finger Coral

The Knobby Finger Coral (Porites duerdeni) is a marine (saltwater) coral in the Poritidae family of polyp stony corals.

The Knobby Finger Coral looks like short, stubby, branching fingers in small, mound-shaped colonies. The top of each finger is spherical. It has widely spaced calices with retracted polyps. It has a well-developed wall reticulum. It can be varied in colour from light grey to yellowish-green and pinkish-red. It is sessile (not moving), with a mouth in each polyp.

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