Anthozoans are composed of cylindrical-shaped individuals, whose skeletons are called corallites. These individuals are either solitary or bound together in a group, forming a colony. The base of the corallite is usually attached to a firm substrate, where it remains fixed for its entire adult life (sometimes several centuries). Within each corallite are several partitions called septa, which radiate out from the central axis of the cylinder. Horizontal structures or platforms which extend across each corallite are called dissepiments (IF irregular or blister like) or tabulae (IF flat plates). The living animal or polyp occupies only the uppermost portion (calyx) of each corallite. During growth, the polyp secretes skeletal material near its base and slowly moves upward toward the surface.

Return to:

Last updated on February 24, 1997-jlc.