Classes: Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa, Anthozoa
Cnidaria are a diverse range of animals that all share the common feature of having stinging cells called cnidocytes. They use these tiny harpoons to capture prey. Cnidaria have two main body forms, free swimming medusa and sessile polyps. There are over 10,000 species found in marine environments worldwide. There are also a few species found in freshwater.
For more information on cnidarians in general click here
Trinidad & Tobago Cnidaria
Patches of corals are found all round Trinidad and Tobago anywhere there is suitable hard substrate. However, the richest reefs, in terms of species composition, are found at the northern end of Tobago. One of the star attractions of the Tobago reefs are the brain corals. One specimen living just south of the island of Little Tobago lays claim to being the biggest brain coral in the western hemisphere at over 3 metres high and 5.3 metres wide.
For profiles of selected species click here
Overall there are more than 250 specimens of both dry and wet specimens. The collection in spirits is quite small but contains a variety of corals, sea anemones, jellyfish and the colonial Portuguese Man o’ War. There are many more dried specimens as the skeletons of corals are easy to preserve, these include stony corals and hydrozoans collected from Tobago and northern Trinidad as well as some collected by researchers on the Research Vessel Oregon II in 1976.
Families in the collections include:
Acroporidae, Agariciidae, Aiptasiidae, Anthothelidae, Antipathidae, Astrocoeniidae, Caryophylliidae, Clavulariidae, Dendrophylliidae, Ellisellidae, Faviidae, Fungiidae, Gorgoniidae, Meandrinidae, Milleporidae, Mussidae, Oculinidae, Phymanthidae, Plexauridae, Pocilloporidae, Poritidae, Rhizangiidae, Siderastreidae, Stichodactylidae, Stomolophidae, Stychodactylidae, Stylasteridae, Zoanthidae
Dried Maze Coral (Meandrina meandrites)
Wet preserved Portuguese Man O' War (Physalia physalis)
Dried Sea Fan (Gorgonia sp.)
Dried China Coral (Madracis myriaster)
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Last updated 12 August 2019