So when biologist Tomas Vega Fernández first spotted a little orange coral catching and consuming mauve stingers—a potent stinging jellyfish many times its size—he was understandably surprised.
He and his colleague Luigi Musco were surveying orange stony cup corals (Astroides calycularis) off the Italian island of Pantelleria when Fernandez noticed fingertip-sized corals nibbling on what appeared to be bits of jellyfish.(Related: “Window to Save World's Coral Reefs Closing Rapidly.”)
“I made a signal to Luigi immediately,” recalled Fernández, a biologist with Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn in Naples, Italy. Then they saw more polyps that had grabbed ahold of tentacles and were contentedly munching away.
They reported the sighting to Fabio Badalamenti, the Research Director for the Italian National Research Council