Belize’s Zoanthids!!!


Zoanthids are commonly found in coral reefs, the deep sea, and other marine environments around Belize and the world.  These animals come in many different colonizing formations and colors, they appear to be sea or reef vegetation, but are actually small colonies of soft bodied animals.  Each Zoanthid is called a pulyp,  and is made up of a cup like body with a single opening that acts both as mouth and anus.  They are attached by a mat that is made up of small pieces of sediment, sand and rock.

They may be distinguished from other soft corals by their characteristic of incorporating sand and other small pieces of materials into their tissue to help form their structure.  Their main characteristic is that their tentacles are organized in two distinct rows.

Some Zoanthids contain a highly toxic substance called palytoxin, this is one of the most toxic organic substance in the world.  Even in small quantities the toxin can be fatal if it is ingested or enters the blood stream.

Zoanthids feed by photosynthesis, and by capturing plankton and particulate matter.  Although photosynthesis aid in their nutrition, they cannot survive through photosynthesis alone.  They also eat meaty foods such as brine shrimp, krill and blood worms.

They can reproduce both sexually and asexually. More about Belize, Become a fan of our face book page.


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