Coral (Devonshire Cup)
The Devonshire Cup Coral is a hard stony-looking sea creature that is cup-shaped. It can be found in the north-east and south-west coasts of England. Unlike the Weymouth Carpet Coral, this coral likes to live solitary, although it can be seen quite close to other cup corals. It has its name ‘Devonshire’ because it was first discovered at the south coast of Devonshire in 1860.
The Devonshire Cup Coral is made up of a small organism called a ‘polyp’. The polyp has a mouth surrounded by approximately eighty tentacles. The tentacles have small white knobs at the end of them. The polyp is normally a translucent white colour and is surrounded by a cup-shaped stony skeleton which can be pink, red, orange, brown, green or white. The skeleton protects the polyp and the sensitive tentacles which have stinging cells called ‘nematocysts’. The tentacles and nematocysts are used when this sea creature wants to feed.
The Devonshire Cup Coral can grow up to approximately three centimetres in diameter and in height. It can be found in shallow and deep water of up to a hundred metres where it attaches itself onto stones, rocks and shells. Sometimes it can be found on the shore and in deep rock pools, especially where there is shade.