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Cladiella krempfi

 

first photographed 24th of September 2011.

In the struggle for survival, (or for space) soft corals use chemical warfare. Cladiella species for example have oxysterols that stop other species growing next to them because they stop cell replication. These chemicals are being researched because they may work in stopping caner cells from reproduing.

To stop itself getting eaten by predators this coral makes toxins. There is one predator however (the nudibranch Tritoniopsis elegans), that is not only unaffected by these toxins, it uses them to becomes toxic to predators as well. To do this, the intestines of the nudibranch branch out under its skin. 

 

 

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