The geographic range of (Colin, 1978)is from Bermuda to Curacao, including the Florida Keys and Western Caribbean. However, it is not found in the Gulf of Mexico. In geographic ranges, it is found in the southeastern part of the of the nearctic region and the northwestern part of the neotropical region.
is usually purple but can vary to its less common colors of yellow-orange, yellow, and brown. In some cases, the color of the sea fan is a result of the environment and the chemicals in the enviroment. The principle pigments of the sea fan are fixed in the spicules (needle-like parts of solid calcium carbonate). Colors result from chemical pigments produced in the spicules. Since the color of the fan varies, the shape of the spicules is the only positive identifier of . The spicules are small and fusiform. The polyps of the protrude from the spicules as tiny fragile white flowers. It is these individual polyps that form the sea fan.
- Range length
- 180 (high) cm
- 70.87 (high) in
Once a planulae polyp is settled on a hard surface, the young polyp creates a horizonatal layer of aragonite called the basal disk. As the polyp grows upward, the base's margin also turns upward, forming a cup called the epitheca, which contains daily growth bands. These and other sturctures called septa form the skeletal boundaries found at the bottom of the coral polyps, which are left behind as a result of the upward growth of the polyp. (Cary, May 15, 1915; Druffel, August 5, 1997)
Gorgonian corals reproduce asexually by cloning or fragmentation, with external fertilization. The larvae typically spend several days as plankton before settling on a hard surface to begin formation of a colony. (Druffel, August 5, 1997; Gotelli, April 1991)
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
There are several potential causes of death for Millipora alcicornis and some encrusting bryozoa. The cause of death is attributed to the lack of food and oxygen to the polyp. Recently, mortality has also been attributed to tumor growth. The tumors observed on exposed to environmental stresses include the presence of pollutants, rising water temperature, increased nutrient concentrations, and increased turbidity. The large tumor masses, which were most often concentrated at the axial bases of the affected clonies were clearly associated with tissue death (necrosis) and erosion of the affected coral. According to Cary, there is no evidence that gorgonian colonies ever die from old age. (Cary, May 15, 1915; Morse, et al., 1977). The greatest cause of mortality is the disattachment of a colony from the substrate, most likely by wave action and storms. The overgrowth of the sea fan by other organisms is also another leading cause of death, especially by the hydrocoralline
Communication and Perception
In Anthozoans, specialized sensory organs are absent and nerves are arranged in nerve nets. Most nerve cells allow impulses to travel in either direction. Hairlike projections on individual cells are mechanoreceptors and possible chemoreceptors. Some Anthozoans show a sensitivity to light. (Brusca and Brusca, 2003)
- Animal Foods
- aquatic crustaceans
- Known Predators
- flamingo tongues (Cyphoma gibbosum)
- nudibranchs (Trotonia hamnerorum)
- Ecosystem Impact
- creates habitat
- Symbiodinium sp.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Compounds have been separated fromto make antibiotics. These compounds include octacoral.
is popularly collected for use in aqauriums and as souvenirs.
As a colorful addition to coral reef habitats, its presence also is important to ecotourism. (Morse, et al., 1977)
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Could not find any adverse effects on humans.
No current conservation details available.
Renee Sherman Mulcrone (editor).
Lee Goetz (author), Hood College, Maureen Foley (editor), Hood College.
- Atlantic Ocean
the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.
living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.
reproduction that is not sexual; that is, reproduction that does not include recombining the genotypes of two parents
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
a substance used for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
- external fertilization
fertilization takes place outside the female's body
union of egg and spermatozoan
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
- pet trade
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
an animal that mainly eats plankton
- radial symmetry
a form of body symmetry in which the parts of an animal are arranged concentrically around a central oral/aboral axis and more than one imaginary plane through this axis results in halves that are mirror-images of each other. Examples are cnidarians (Phylum Cnidaria, jellyfish, anemones, and corals).
structure produced by the calcium carbonate skeletons of coral polyps (Class Anthozoa). Coral reefs are found in warm, shallow oceans with low nutrient availability. They form the basis for rich communities of other invertebrates, plants, fish, and protists. The polyps live only on the reef surface. Because they depend on symbiotic photosynthetic algae, zooxanthellae, they cannot live where light does not penetrate.
- saltwater or marine
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
non-motile; permanently attached at the base.
Attached to substratum and moving little or not at all. Synapomorphy of the Anthozoa
uses touch to communicate
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
animal constituent of plankton; mainly small crustaceans and fish larvae. (Compare to phytoplankton.)
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Cronin, G., M. Hay, W. Finical, N. Lindquist. March 1995. Distribution, density, and sequestration of host chemical defenses by the specialist nudibranch *Tritonia hamnerorum* found at high densities on the sea fan *G. ventalina*. Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 119 (1-3): 177-189.
Druffel, E. August 5, 1997. Geochemistry of corals: proxies of past ocean chemistry, ocean circulation, and climate. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA, Vol. 94, No. 16: 8354-8361.
Gotelli, N. April 1991. Demographic models for *Leptogorgia virgulata*, a shallow-water gorgonian. Ecology, 72 (2): 457-467.
Grigg, R. March 1972. Orientation and growth form of sea fans. Limnology and Oceanography, 17(2): 185 - 192.
Guthrie, M., J. Anderson. 1961. General Zoology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Kester, E. 1900. A Treatise on Zoology Part II. London: Adam and Charles Black.
Longhurst, A., D. Pauly. Ecology of Tropical Oceans.
Morse, D., A. Morse, H. Duncan. 1977. Algal tumors in the Caribbean sea fan *G. ventalina*. 3rd International Coral Reef Symposium Proceedings.
Sterrer, W. 1986. Marine Flora and Fauna of Bermuda. New York: Wiley.
Van Alstyne, K., V. Paul. September 1992. Chemical and structural defenses in the sea fan *G. ventalina* - effects against generalist and specialist predators. Coral Reefs, 11 (3): 155-159.