The Orange Cup Coral is a demersal species found in the Eastern Pacific (Canada, USA) (Sealifebase 2011). It is only one of a few scleractinian corals found in British Columbia. It is, as the name suggests, a solitary polyp that lives within a calcareous skeleton, about the size of a large thumb-nail. It lives in the low intertidal and subtidal regions on rocky shores, and likely feeds on small planktonic crustaceans that it catches on its tentacles. The tentacles bear batteries of stinging cells, or nematocysts, that are easily visible in close-up photographs. As well as being used for subduing prey for feeding, the nematocysts provide protection from potential sea-star predators and encroaching rock surface-inhabiting competitors such as colonial tunicates.
For more information see A SNAIL'S ODYSSEY. Use the drop-down menu to access topics on corals.
This species is used in the aquarium trade.
Note Author: Tom Carefoot, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia