Common Sea Fan
Saltwater. Gorgonians. Colonies are large, in a single plane, and fan
shaped. Seafans have strong, flexible stems, that branch profusely. It
grows near the shore in shallow water in areas with strong wave action
and on deeper outer reefs with strong currents down to a depth of about
To be confused with
- Venus Sea Fan, Gorgonia flabellum. In G. flabellum the branches are flattened at right angles to the plane of the fan, while in G. ventalina the branches are either round or flattened parallel to the plane of the fan.
Size: The apertures are very small pores located in two rows along the edges of the branches. The fans can be large, 1.5-1.8 m high and 1.2-1.5 m broad.
Color: Variable in colour, being whitish, yellow or pale purple.
Shape: Colonies are large, in a single plane, and fan shaped. The outline of the colony is an interconnected network of thin branches which enclose irregular, triangular or rectangular spaces. The branches are round or slightly compressed in the plane of the fan.
Habitat environment and ecology
Inhabits coral reefs. Restricted to the outer reefs and patch reefs to
30 m. The main branches are often purple and the fan is orientated at
right angles to the current. It is a filter feeder. Each polyp extends
its eight tentacles to catch plankton drifting past on the current.
BES-eilanden: St. Eustatius.
[Marion Haarsma, march, 2016]
- Humann, P., & DeLoach, N. (2002). Reef Creature Identification:
Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas (p. 420). Jacksonville (FL): New World
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