By Rebecca Hogue Wojahn
Welcome to a Caribbean coral reef! As you snorkel simply offshore, you notice exceptional fish, waving sea anemones, diving turtlesmaybe even a prowling barracuda! The coral reef is stuffed with lifefrom coral polyps snagging plankton to a moray eel gobbling up a goby fish. Day and evening at the coral reef, the quest is directly to locate foodand to prevent turning into an individual elses subsequent meal. All dwelling issues are hooked up to each other in a foodstuff chain, from animal to animal, animal to plant, and plant to animal. What direction will you are taking to stick with the nutrition chain in the course of the coral reef?
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Additional resources for A Coral Reef Food Chain-A Who-Eats-What Adventure in the Caribbean Sea
Black Sea Urchin 50 (Diadema antillarum) As the light fades from the reef, the black sea urchin begins her nightly prowl. No really—she is moving. She just moves so slowly that it’s hard to even notice. Those black spines—as long as your forearm—aren’t just rippling in the waves. Ever so slowly, they are propelling her toward her new hunting spot. But the urchin isn’t just a ball of spikes. Those spines are attached to a hard shell called a test. The test is the urchin’s outer skeleton. It protects her inner parts.
Dead algae. To see what the plants of the coral reef are like, tur n to page 30. Spotted Moray Eel 40 (Gymnothorax moringa) As the sun fades from the reef, the spotted moray eel stirs in her lair. She may look like a snake, but she’s a fish—a long fish, as long and as thick as your leg. She doesn’t have side fins as other fish do. But she does have a long top fin that runs the length of her body. This and her tail fin steer her through the water. But she doesn’t need to swim much. She tends to wait for her food from the safety of her hideaway.
He doesn’t really want the coral, though. What he’s really after are the algae and sponges inside and on it. Once he swallows the hard parts, the bits of coral and rocks are ground up into tiny sandy bits inside of him. Then he digests the algae and gets rid of the sand. That’s right—some of the sand you walk on at a tropical beach was probably pooped out by parrot fish. One parrot fish can make 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of coral sand a year! The water’s growing dimmer as the sun sets. Since this parrot fish is still small enough to worry about predators, he begins looking for a place to rest for the night.
A Coral Reef Food Chain-A Who-Eats-What Adventure in the Caribbean Sea by Rebecca Hogue Wojahn