Coral Guard-Crabs: Sea star predation

Courtesy of Jenna Moore
September 30, 2014
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Courtesy of Jenna Moore

A predator crown-of-thorns sea star eats an undefended coral, leaving visible white scares of exposed coral skeleton where the tissue has been removed. In September 2014, Smithsonian scientists Seabird McKeon and Jenna Moore published new research highlighting the role of diversity in the healthy functioning of coral reef ecosystems, showing that guard-crab species and size classes offer different kinds of effective protection against various threats to coral reefs. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Moore)