June 2, 2013

Though we picked our winners at random, we want to recognize some of the other very strong research and writing by the students at Skano Elementary School as part of Seymour Simon’s CORAL REEFS contest. We do not have enough space to feature all the excellent writing, so this is just a sample. We think that our readers will enjoy reading what you found out.

Elizabeth, 4th Grade, 9 years old, in Mr. Farquharson’s class wrote:


Porcupinefish, also known as blowfish can blow themselves up to protect themselves from predators.  Giant Moray Eels are about 6 feet long and they blend in with the coral reef to protect themselves from predators.  Finally, Goby fish are less than 10cm (2 inches) long and they hide in coral reefs when they see a predator.  The coral reef is home to a lot of sea creatures and serves as a hiding place to many of them.

Photo: Giant Moray Eel 


My name is Dylan M. and I am in Kindergarten in Mrs. Benkoski’s class at Skano Elementary. I want to enter this contest because I love learning about what is under the sea and all the fish and beautiful creatures living in the ocean. My three choices are: The Long-Spined Sea Urchin, which can be found in the Bahamas or the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. 

My mom has seen them before in the Mediterranean Sea when she visited Italy. They are black and have long, spiky looking needles sticking out of them and are shaped liked a circle and are pretty cool looking.

They live in shallow water which means you could easily step on them accidentally and my mom says it hurts REALLY bad because she did once. And they eat algae.

Photo: Long-Spined Sea Urchin

My second choice is the Spotted Moray Eel. I would love to be able to see an Eel, they look so creepy with their beady eyes. They have dark brown or purple spots all over their bodies and grow about 3-4 feet in length. They eat Crustaceans and fish and are dangerous so don’t get bitten by their sharp teeth!

My third choice is a crab. The Ghost crab in particular blends with their environment because they match the color of the sand. They can travel fast at 10 miles per hour, which is super fast. They eat crabs, clams, insects, and vegetations. I thought it was cool that they eat other crabs.

I entered this contest because I enjoy learning about other eco systems.


Alyssa, in Mrs.O’Brien’s 2nd grade class,  came up with many more than three interesting reef animals:

  Coral reefs are full of amazing beauty! Some of the creatures living on the coral reef are banded coral shrimp, giant moray eel, longnose hawkfish, parrot fishes & a variety of clownfish including percula clownfish, tomato clownfish, maroon clownfish & pink skunk clownfish! I am a big fan of the ocean & all its living species! 

Photo: Lightning Maroon Clownfish


Bradley also did a lot of research:

Some animals that live in coral reefs are blowfish, angel sharks, bivalves and lemon sharks.


Blowfish are also called Putterfish, Globefish and Fugu. They are poisonous and it can swallow water to double its size.

Bivalves have soft bodies that are protected by two hard shells. The shells are hinged together around the bivalve. Animals like clams and oysters are bivalves.

Angel sharks are bottom-dwelling animals with a blunt snout. Although they are sharks, they are relatively harmless. Lemon sharks are large yellowish sharks that live in an intermediate depth in the ocean.

Photo: Blowfish (or Porcupinefish) 

Mrs. Russo’s afternoon Kindergarten class were the only ones to include one of my favorite reef creatures, the seahorse. They wrote:

Lots of animals live in the coral reef, including jellyfish, octopuses, and seahorses. Jellyfish have poisonous, stinging tentacles. The California octopus is only 1 cm (1/3-inch) long. Seahorses have armored plates on their bodies.

Photo: Seahorse and coral


Christopher, in Mr. Johnson’s 2nd grade class, wrote:


Lobsters live in a coral reef. The lobster’s claws are actually its front legs. Coral lives in a coral reef. Coral is an animal that can look like a plant or a rock. Clownfish (Nemo) live in a coral reef. The anemone (a kind of coral) keeps the clownfish safe. Clownfish drop food that the anemone eats. They act like a team. Sea turtles live in coral reefs. Sea turtles are not that fast on land, but in the water they are fast. Female sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach about a hundred feet from the water.

Photo: Sea turtle swims above coral reef

Steven, from Mrs Zacher’s Class, chose three very unique reef animals.

Flamboyant Cuttlefish. I think the flamboyant cuttlefish is a very fascinating animal because it can change its skin texture to look like something else and confuse its prey. It can change its skin color with chromatophores, fast or slow depending on what it needs.  Sometimes it will camouflage to hide or use bright color patterns to scare predators or hypnotizes its prey.  Changing its colors is called metachrosis.  It can catch its prey lightning fast with its two front tentacles. 


Bigfin Reef Squid. The bigfin reef squid looks like a cuttlefish because their rippled fin covers the whole length of its body. Other squid fins cover about one quarter of their bodies.  Many people eat bigfin reef squid. Their camouflage is a light pale color. Scientists like to study the large nerve fibers of bigfin reef squid. I like the bigfin reef squid because of the way it swims with its big cuttlefish like fin and its arms that stay together because it looks like a dart. I first learned about bigfin reef squid from my Wii game, Go Vacation.

Warty Frogfish. The warty frogfish is a type of anglerfish that lives in the coral reef.  It disguises itself by changing its color, using chromataphores to look like coral.  Its bumpy skin gives the texture of coral. The warty frog fish is an anglerfish because it uses a lure that is attached to its head to attract prey. The prey thinks that the lure is a worm or food.  he warty frog fish eats small fish and crustaceans. The warty frogfish can swallow prey almost as big as itself. The warty frogfish and the flamboyant cuttlefish are similar because it looks like they walk on legs.  The flamboyant cuttlefish uses two of its arms and the frogfish uses fins to help it walk.  Both of these ocean creatures also can change the color of their skin.

Editor’s Note: We shortened some of these entries and have checked all the facts and made a few edits to correct inaccuracies, so that everything you are reading here is true, as well as fascinating!




Posted by: Liz Nealon

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