Marine Invertebrates


Invertebrates are animals without backbones and these ‘spineless’ animals make up the vast majority of all animal life on Earth. Some invertebrates have a hard shell or exoskeleton. Invertebrates that live in marine habitats are called marine invertebrates.

Common examples of marine invertebrates include molluscs (such as clams, snails and octopus), crustaceans (like crabs, prawns and barnacles), echinoderms (such as sea urchins, sea stars [starfish] and sea cucumbers), sponges, worms and corals.

Corals and relatives (Cnidaria)

There is a multitude of different kinds of coral along the Queensland coast, including hundreds of species of both hexacorals (hard corals) and octocorals (sea pens, blue corals, soft corals and sea fans).

Sessile marine invertebrates

A general term for animals that live attached to the seabed for at least part of their life cycle.


Molluscs are soft-bodied invertebrates possessing (usually) an external shell for protection, a ventral foot for locomotion and, in aquatic species, gills for respiration.


Crustaceans belong to a subphylum of the phylum Arthropoda, and are among the most successful animal groups with almost 52,000 described species. Crustaceans vary enormously in their sizes, shapes, and lifestyles - from transparent microscopic copepods to colourful shrimps and lobsters. 

Common questions

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Fact sheets


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