Purple sea fan

Purple sea fan
Purple sea fan
Phylum Cnidaria (hydroids, jellyfish, corals, sea anemones, black corals and gorgonians)
Gorgonia ventalina
0 to 100+ ft
Colonies grow into large fan-like structures supported by a common base. The "fan" is made up of a complex network of interconnected branches. In our area, purple is the most abundant color, however this species can be yellow or brownish. When the tiny polyps are extended, the fan appears gray, but the primary branches and stalk remain purple. It can grow quite large, ranging from 2 - 6 feet (60 - 180 cm) in diameter. The purple sea fan is common in the Caribbean. It inhabits coral reefs with moderate water flow, allowing it to strain nutrients from the water that passes through the mesh of the fan.

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