The Fascinating World of Cnidarians

The phylum Cnidaria contains such creatures as jellyfish, anemones, siphonophores and corals. Together, they consist of around 13,000 living species - surprisingly simple, yet beautiful organisms. The importance of these cnidarians cannot be understated. Coral reefs are formed of many millions of cnidarians and are home to staggering biodiversity. Jellyfish are important predators in the open ocean food web, but they serve as food for many other species as well. Sea anemones fulfil a similar role but in the shallows, also serving as hiding places for clownfish. Thus, this unique and abundant group of creatures is integral to the function of many marine communities, from the open ocean to coasts and the benthic zone of the deep sea.

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