ETYM Of. coral, F, corail, Latin corallum, coralium, from Greek korallion.
1. A variable color averaging a deep pink.
2. Marine colonial polyp characterized by a calcareous skeleton; masses in a variety of shapes often forming reefs.
3. The hard stony skeleton of a Mediterranean coral that has a delicate red or pink color and is used for jewelry; SYN. red coral, precious coral.
4. Unfertilized lobster roe; reddens in cooking; used as garnish or to color sauces.
Marine invertebrate of the class Anthozoa in the phylum Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish. It has a skeleton of lime (calcium carbonate) extracted from the surrounding water. Corals exist in warm seas, at moderate depths with sufficient light. Some coral is valued for decoration or jewelry, for example, Mediterranean red coral Corallum rubrum.
Corals live in a symbiotic relationship with microscopic algae (zooxanthellae), which are incorporated into the soft tissue. The algae obtain carbon dioxide from the coral polyps, and the polyps receive nutrients from the algae. Corals also have a relationship to the fish that rest or take refuge within their branches, and which excrete nutrients that make the corals grow faster. The majority of corals form large colonies although there are species that live singly. Their accumulated skeletons make up large coral reefs and atolls. The Great Barrier Reef, to the NE of Australia, is about 1,600 km/1,000 mi long, has a total area of 20,000 sq km/7,700 sq mi, and adds 50 million metric tons of calcium to the reef each year. The world's reefs cover an estimated 620,000 sq km/240,000 sq mi.
Merdžan; crveno staklo od koga se prave perle za nakit i sl.; zool. morska životinjica iz klase antozoa, čija se skeletna masa upotrebljava za ukrase.