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February 09, 2012

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That certainly is an excellent survival mechanism. I think, though, that the corals shown in each film are a single polyp - a solitary coral animal.

Oops - thanks for the correction, shows how much I know about coral anatomy. Now corrected (I hope) to cilia. I guess I was just carried away with the whole image of "polyp inflation".....

"Shrug it off"--exactly! And behind this extraordinary behavior is some biochemistry that one would love to know more about. How does the fungiid know it has been buried? Presumably through sensors related to those that trigger stinging, but somehow it can tell the difference, in the same way that the inflation mechanism is presumably related to fungiid mobility but follows a remarkably different course. Possibly both depend on the number of cilia activated? Which would constitute higher-order processing. However--clever chaps.
Also this week another popular media mention of a topic familiar to your readers, from a location near you:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2012/feb/10/week-in-wildlife-in-pictures#/?picture=385782734&index=10

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