Comprehensive Description

Read full entry

Comprehensive Description

The black or thorny corals (Antipatharia) make up an order of about 230 recognized species, many found in deep water. The colonies often grow in whiplike or branching tree-like formations up to 6 meters tall, supported by a skeletons are made of a hard protein called antipatharin. The skeletons of many species contain dark pigments, and most produce spine-like structures on the surface of the skeleton. Usually the polyps have six nonretractable tentacles, but they can have multiples of six up to 24, arranged in an irregular branching pattern; this is key to distinguishing these corals from the gorgonian corals (octocorals, having eight tentacles), which they otherwise resemble (Kozloff 1990).


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Campbell, Dana

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team

Belongs to 0 communities

This taxon hasn't been featured in any communities yet.

Learn more about Communities


EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!