Red gorgonian (paramuricea clavata)
Complete list     1 /  47   >>
Common name Red gorgonian
Scientific name Paramuricea clavata
Class Anthozoa
Order Gorgonacei
Family Paragorgiidae
Distribution The Mediterranean (absent in eastern regions)
Habitat Coral seabeds, from depths ranging between of 30 – 35 metres to 100mt.
Dimensions Fan shapes spanning a height and width of up to 1 m.
Characteristicts Deep red in colour with thick irregular ramifications, partially dichotomous and often confluent.

Gorgonians live on the sea bed in large colonies forming typical fan shapes and are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton as they drift by. The branches are either primary or secondary, thin and flexible. Those on the outer edge of the fan are short and clavicular. The skeleton is horny and can be up to 3 or 4cm thick at the base. The body consists of an erect central rod of organic material called gorgonin, surrounded by a cylinder of calcareous spicules and by the polyp organisms, in branching, plant like forms. The spicules contain a pigment that gives the gorgonian its colour. polyps are a yellowish colour.

Reproduction is similar to that of other gorgonians of the same family. The habitat for the larvae needs to be precise. Growth rates vary but in optimum conditions can reach 6 cm per year. The splendid colours degrade when removed from the water.