The ocean is full of uncharted territory -- and of breathtaking natural wonders that look like they'd be more at home on another planet than in the blue depths just off the beach where you might vacation. These stunning underwater organisms offer an ethereal beauty hard to reproduce on land.
The vibrant hue of this lilac
-looking purple coral isn't the only striking thing about it: Though the color is rare, this acropora coral
is probably one of the most popular among sealife -- according to Animal World
, acropora and monitor corals together comprise nearly 1/3 of reef-building species, which means they're often the first on the scene of a new reef, and they spread to provide homes for other corals.
Photo via mattk1979 @ Flickr