Home > Invertebrates > Octocorals

Updated 12/9/2012

Phylum Cnidaria, Class Anthozoa, Subclass Octocorallia

Octocorals, Soft Corals, Gorgonians, & Sea Pens

Octocorals have a variety of forms ranging from delicate mats to sea fans & massive leather corals.  They share a common trait in having polyps with eight tentacles (hard corals have six).  Octocorals are most prolific in areas of high water flow where they capture zooplankton with stinging cells.  Identification of many species is difficult beyond the genus or family level without dissection.  Hawaii has a relatively few species at diving depths compared to other parts of the world.

 

HAWAII

Sarcothelia edmondsoni 

BLUE  SOFT CORAL

 

Acabaria bicolor 

BICOLOR GORGONIAN

 

 

Clavularia sp.

BROWN SOFT CORAL

 

Carijoa riisei 

SNOWFLAKE CORAL

 

Sinularia densa

 DENSE LEATHER CORAL

 


INDO-PACIFIC

Sarcophyton spp.

LEATHER CORAL

 

Xenia spp.

XENIA


NORTHEAST PACIFIC

Ptilosarcus guerneyi

SEA PEN

 

Stylatula elongata

WHITE SEA PEN

 

Clavularia sp.

OCTOCORAL

 

Adelogorgia phyllosclera

ORANGE GORGONIAN

 

Muricea fruticosa

BROWN GORGONIAN

 

Muricea californica

GOLDEN GORGONIAN

 

Lophogorgia chilensis

RED GORGONIAN

 

Eugorgia rubens

PURPLE GORGONIAN


TROPICAL WESTERN ATLANTIC

Gorgonia ventalina

COMMON SEA FAN

 

Pseudopterogorgia americana

SLIMY SEA PLUME

 

Briareum asbestinum

CORKY SEA FINGER

 

Plexaurella spp.

SLIT-PORE SEA ROD

Eunicea mammosa

SWOLLEN-KNOB CANDELABRUM

 

Pseudopterogorgia spp.

SEA PLUME