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30 March 2010

Coral Attacks Jellyfish!

Amazing new discovery in Israel! Near the city of Eilat in the Red Sea, scientists caught coral sucking in a large jellyfish. "During the survey we were amazed to notice some mushroom corals actively feeding on the moon jellyfish," says Ada Alamaru, Tel Aviv University, Israel. This is extremely strange behavior for corals since their regular diet usually includes only microscopic organisms called zooplankton (tiny drifting animals). Some corals consume organic debris. This is the first time ever reported that coral is feeding on a large jellyfish. "In fact we saw a few corals feeding and not only one," Ms Alamaru says. Scientists think that due to the climate change, jellyfish are over populating coral reefs and it seems that nature found a way to balance a large number of jellyfish. Ms Alamaru also suggests that ability to utilize a variety of food sources and to take advantage of such a bloom event gives the mushroom corals an advantage compared with other small polyped corals that are not able to feed on such large prey items.

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