Throughout the milleniums, many animals have evolved into specialized hunters. Each animal has adapted to it's own environment and has developed unique predation techniques, camouflage or patterns to aide them in catching and restraining their prey. Like the many other habitats, the coral reef has it's own collection of predators. Built by small marine animals that range in size from a grains of sand to golf balls, they hold as many species as tropical rainforests. Many groups of fish maintain symbiotic relationships with other animals and with the reef itself. Although the reef contains segments of limestone and sand, it consists of a small percentage of actual coral. Nevertheless, the reef is a natural phenomenon which repels waves as they near shore. The structure forms a few feet below sea level which can be classified into three different groups, fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls. Fringing reefs have a tendency to be located close to shore and are seperated from land by shallow lagoons while barrier reefs are common farther from shore and are seperated by laggons deeper than ten meters. In comparison, atolls are also found farther from shore yet they compromise ring-shaped reefs enclosing circular lagoons.
As a threatened, biological phenomenon, coral reefs house a diverse population of predators and prey. However, not all predators are monstrous sharks with blood-thirsty appetites. A large percentage of the predators that hunt on or near reefs are fish that may be as small as five inches, or as large as six feet. These fish have adapted to the coral and dwell within a crevice or under a ledge and await for their unsuspecting victims to approach them. Although some may be inticed to attack man, they seldom lash out at divers unless provoked.
Since the epoch of the dinosaurs, unique creatures have roamed the seas. Throughout the centuries, several species have improved their predation skills thus, becoming true "Primeval Predators." Among them are crustaceans, mollusks, large predatory fish, reptiles and echinoderms whom prey on smaller creatures and occasionally on the reef itself. These animals have survived thousands of years and as a result of man's greed are now in danger of becoming extinct.