Preview

image preview

Family

Gorgoniidae

Common Name(s)

Common sea fan

Colony Form

Monoplanar fan to at least 1 m across.

Axis

Cylindrical or slightly compressed in plane of fan on small interconnected branchlets (pinnules).

Branches

Major ascending branches tapering toward tips; smaller interconnected branchlets (pinnules) cylindrical or slightly compressed in plane of fan. Meshes polygonal, squarish or irregular.

Apertures

Round or oval, chiefly on sides of small branchlets.

Mucus

None

Color

Purple; occasionally yellow or brownish outside Florida.

Sclerites

Polyp armature: small rods 0.065-0.1 mm long. Body wall: acute spindles, and scaphoids (curved sclerites) with sculpture on convex side reduced to tiny thorns sometimes placed on low transverse ridges, to 0.14 mm long.

Habitat

Crests and seaward slopes of shallow reefs exposed to surge, at depths chiefly from 2 to 10 m; rarely below 15 m.

Distribution

Bermuda, South Florida, Bahamas, Caribbean Sea.

Notes

Fans grow perpendicular to current and oscillating flow to maximize their surface area for feeding. Multidirectional flow may generate smaller accessory fans at right angles to the main fan. G. ventalinais preyed upon by several gastropods, including the ovulidsCyphoma gibbosum, Cybovula acicularis, Simnialena uniplicata, and the nudibranch Tritonia hamnerorum. Cronin et al. (1995) reported as many as 1,700 T. hamnerorum on a single fan. G. ventalina is also infected by the fungus Aspergillus sydowii, which causes necrosis and may kill the entire fan (see for example Harvell et al. 2001, Dube et al. 2002, Rypien 2008, and Toledo-Hernandez et al. 2008).

Date Taken

4-11-2016

Share

 
COinS