Special Lips Help Fish Feed on Sharp, Stinging Coral

The razor-sharp skeleton and venomous stinging cells of corals make them one of the most challenging meals in nature, requiring hungry organisms to develop features that can bypass these biological defenses. Researchers have discovered how at least one fish species is able to feed amid such hazards – by “kissing” the mucus and flesh off of the coral skeleton using self-lubricating, protective lips.

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Scientists Race to Prevent Wipeout of World’s Coral Reefs

The world has lost roughly half its coral reefs in the last 30 years. Scientists are now scrambling to ensure that at least a fraction of these unique ecosystems survives beyond the next three decades. The health of the planet depends on it: Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine species, as well as half a billion people around the world.

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