Next on the menu is the rice coral, Montipora capitata, which prefers calmer water habitats, such as Kane'ohe Bay. It can assume a variety of forms. Typically, the shaded colonies form large plates that look as though they are speckled with rice, while those exposed to more sun tend to be spiky.
Just what is coral? It's a colony made up of individual animals called coral polyps. They are sort of like mini sea anemones, and are connected to each other. As dissolved minerals drift over the coral, the polyps remove them and deposit them as calcium carbonate, forming the rocky skeleton.