Hawai'i Coral Reef Network

Marine Invertebrates of Hawai'i 


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Phylum Porifera - sponges

Simple encrusting or vase-shaped bodies perforated with numerous pores: colors often bright reds, yellows and oranges


Phylum Cnidaria - corals and anemones

Radially symmetric cup-like polyps or medusae; ring of tentacles surround mouth; often with calcareous exoskeleton.

Phylum Platyhelminthes - flatworms

Dorso-ventrally flattened worms; lacking dorsal or lateral gills; often brightly colored.

Phylum Mollusca - snails, clams, octopus

Shelled animals, often crawling on a muscular foot; gills housed in a mantle cavity; radula feeding apparatus; also includes non-shelled octopus and squids.

Featherduster worm

Phylum Annelida - segmented worms

Elongate worms with bodies divided by segments; worms often buried in hard substrates or sediment with only tentacular plumes visible.

7-11 crab

Phylum Arthropoda - crabs, shrimp, lobsters

Jointed appendages encased in carapace; body short or elongate, often with numerous jointed appendages such as walking legs, claws , antennae or mouthparts.
Slate-pencil urchin

Phylum Echinodermata - seastars, urchins, brittlestars, cucumbers

Radially symmetric with internal skeletons; body often covered with spines and tube feet.
Sea squirt

Phylum Chordata - non-vertebrate sea squirts

Usually encrusting, sponge-like filter feeders; body pierced by numerous pores; body wall feels smooth to the touch.


Last update: 1/25/2005