I was perusing National Geographic today and came across an article that had a lot of relevance to our class discussion today. The title, “Predator” Corals Eat Jellyfish immediately caught my attention. The article shows mushroom coral from the Red Sea, which have soft bodies, no eyes, and can barely move around eating adult jellyfish.
The coral completely contradicts everything we were saying in class about the ideals of predators. They have no speed, no strength, not even any vision with which to catch their prey. Instead, they simply attach themselves to the seafloor and wait for the prey to come to them. One researcher said that the corals were “dependent on anything floating for food.”
However, despite these obstacles, the coral are living in abundance in this area of the Red Sea. That suggests to me that although the ideals of predators would be nice for some animals to have, there is no universal “ideal predator.” Every animal lives in a different habitat with different obstacles to overcome to eat their prey. Some animals can be picky about which gazelle to pounce on, while others, like the coral, will “take any opportunity, as long as it doesn’t kill.”
This coral proves that there are many different shapes of predators, often ones that we would not expect to be deadly. I guess danger is all in the eyes of the beholder. We as humans don’t see corals as a threat to us because they could not hurt us if they tried, but the jellyfish are still dying at their hands.