Black coral & Wire coral

Phylum Cnidaria (hydroids, jellyfish, corals, sea anemones, black corals and gorgonians)
Antipathes sp.
0 to 100+ ft
There are a number of species of black corals found in the Cayman Islands, which differ primarily in the shape of the colony or structure that they form. They may grow in "fans", "trees", "bottle-brushes", or simple "wires". Black corals range in color from green to reddish brown to white, but are never black! Black corals are not "true" corals. They have an internal skeletal structure that is secreted by the polyps, and it is this skeleton, which when polished, is the distinctive "black coral" found in jewelry stores. The color of the living colony is determined by the soft polyps that cover this skeleton. Black corals are common throughout the Caribbean including the Cayman Islands. They inhabit coral reefs, generally increasing in abundance with depth, and preferring the protection of grottos, caves and ravines.

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