“The plant is not conscious of an outward world, when it sends out its roots to obtain the nourishment which is fitting for itself; but the polype, which is fixed with hundreds of its kind on the same coral-stock, and is able only to move its mouth and tentacles, is aware of the presence of the little craw-fish upon which it feeds, and throws out its lasso-cells and catches it.”
“In this way I push the swallowed worm against the mouth of the polype, which is thus forced to open, and by again slightly pressing the polype with my forceps I cause the worm partly to come out from its mouth, and thus draw out with it an equal part of the end of its stomach.”
“The red coral polype perches upon the sea bottom, it then grows up into a sort of stem, and out of that stem there grow branches, each of which has its own polypes; and thus you have a kind of tree formed, every branch of the tree terminated by its polype.”
“You must understand that all this skeleton has been formed in the interior of the body, to suit the branched body of the polype mass, and that it is as much its skeleton as our own bones are our skeleton.”
“The coral polype, like everything else, takes a certain time to grow to its full size; it does not do it in a minute; just as a child takes a certain time to grow into a man so does the embryo polype take time to grow into a perfect polype and form its skeleton.”
“Again, when this great cup was alive, the whole surface was covered with a beautiful body upon which were set innumerable small polype flowers, if we may so call them, often brilliantly coloured; and the whole cup was built up in the same fashion by the deposit of carbonate of lime in the interior of the combined polype body, formed by budding and by fission in the way I described.”
“This is a great mass of madrepore, and in the living state every one of the ends of these branches was terminated by a beautiful little polype, like a sea anemone, and all the skeleton was covered by a soft body which united the polypes together.”
“If I make a bud grow out here, and another on the opposite side, and each fashions itself into a new polype, the practical effect will be that before long you will see”
“M. de Trembley showed that you could take a polype and cut it into two, or four, or many pieces, mutilating it in all directions, and the pieces would still grow up and reproduce completely the original form of the animal.”
“But towards the lower part of the reef, at a depth of about 120 feet, these creatures are less active, and fewer of them at work; and at greater depths than that you find no living coral polype at all; and it may be laid down as a rule, derived from very extensive observation, that these reef-building corals cannot live in a greater depth of water than about 120 to 150 feet.”
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