VIDEO: Science has discovered kissing corals

The underwater microscope. Image: Emily L. A. Kelly

A new type of underwater microscope has uncovered something unusual about coral reefs — they like to kiss.

This coral kissing is a previously unknown type of behaviour in which the tiny animals that make up coral, called polyps, connect their mouths.

They stay connected throughout the night. Researchers aren’t sure but they believe it’s likely there’s some form of exchange of material, possibly food, between the polyps.

The new microscope, which can produce high resolution images of living marine organisms in their natural environment, is described in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Here’s the video describing the microscope and coral kissing:

The Benthic Underwater Microscope was developed by the Jaffe Laboratory for Underwater Imaging at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.

The microscope can capture images with resolutions around 20 times better than previous underwater machines.

A coral closeup. Image: Andrew Mullen

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