Soft Coral (Dendronephthya)

© 2000 by Image Quest 3-D
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Photograph by Carlos Villoch

(CLASS: Anthozoa, SUBCLASS: Octocorallia, ORDER: Alcyonacea, FAMILY: Nephtheidae)

This soft coral genus is one of the most spectacular organisms found on reefs, with brilliant colours, bizarre delicate shapes and large sizes. They lack zooxanthellae so their calcareaous sclerites are normally clearly visible through the translucent body wall (see above). They are usually photographed when they are inflated with water, they often deflate to a small spiny lump on the bottom which is hard to identify as the same creature as the expanded individual.

 

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2001 by Image Quest 3-D
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