Kingdom: Lophophorates

Phylum: Cnidaria

Class: Anthozoa

    Corals belong to the Phylum Cnidaria which also includes the hydroids, jellyfishes and sea anemones.  They are characterized by a simple racially symmetrical body which encloses a digestive cavity.  The Cnidarians have only one opening that is usually outlined by tentacles.  These tentacles are usually stinging cells.  Corals have a skeleton that is compositionally calcite or aragonite.  Many groups of Cnidarians are colonial.  Most of the Cnidarian Phylum are sessile predators, of coarse there are exceptions.  Due to their durability and hard exoskeleton the corals have left a clear and precise fossil record.  Most Corals are classified in the Class Anthozoa.  Their are three major subclasses: