Barriere coralline e coralli dal mondo (gallery)

di Valentina Ierrobino 40

Gli Antozoi, più noti con il nome di coralli, sono degli animali degli Cnidaria e più esattamente dei piccoli polipi che vivono in colonie numerose, come le barriere coralline tropicali. Questi piccoli polipi producono carbonato di calcio e danno vita al tipico scheletro calcareo che conosciamo come corallo. Utilizzato per fare gioielli e come ricordo di vacanza nei Paesi tropicali, il corallo rischia l’estinzione a causa anche dei cambiamenti climatici, del surriscaldamento terrestre e dell’inquinamento. Nel mondo esistono diverse varietà di corallo, differente per colore, dimensione e forma. Cerchiamo di scoprirne un po’ di più con la gallry di oggi.

Il nome “corallo” (foto 1) deriva dal greco “fiori animali” perché alla vista è un fiore calcareo anche se in realtà costituito da migliaia di piccoli polipi identici. In natura esistono due tipi principali di corallo: gli anemoni di mare (foto 2) e i coralli (foto 3). I coralli (foto 4) popolano le acque costiere tropicali in cui possono formare trottoir, come quelli del Mar Rosso; atolli, come nelle isole della Polinesia; e barriere, presenti soprattutto in Australia dove si trova la Grande Barriera Corallina (foto 5). Sono organismi delicatissimi che possono morire per un lieve aumento delle temperature e per l’inquinamento (foto 6).

I coralli si alimentano di piccoli pesci o animali marini che immobilizzano prima di mangiare, con i loro tentacoli urticanti. Solo il pesce pagliaccio è immune da tali tentacoli. Le colonie coralline sono tra gli organismi più longevi del mondo, vivono più a lungo delle tartarughe che hanno una vita media di 220 anni e di alcune specie di vongole che vivono più di 405 anni. Tra i coralli più preziosi e rari vi sono il corallo rosso (foto 7), o Corallium rubrum, che può avere anche colorazione rosa (foto 8) o bianca (foto 9). E’ una specie che non ama la luce e vive in grotte e anfratti sottomarini ad una profondità non minore di 100 metri. Il corallo nero (foto 10) , o Anthipathes, è una specie molto più comune che vive sia nei mari tropicali che nelle acquee mediterranee.

[Fonte: Wikipedia]

[Photo Credit | Thinkstock]

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