sea fan


sea fan
any of certain anthozoans, esp. Gorgonia flabellum, of the West Indies, in which the colony assumes a fanlike form.
[1625-35]

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Any of about 500 coral species (genus Gorgonia) especially abundant in shallow waters along the Atlantic coasts of Florida, Bermuda, and the West Indies.

Polyps grow colonially in a flat, fanlike pattern. Each polyp has some multiple of six tentacles, which it spreads out to form a plankton-catching net. An internal skeleton supports all branches of the colony. The living tissues (often red, yellow, or orange) entirely cover the skeleton. The fan-shaped colonies usually grow across the current, increasing their ability to ensnare prey. All species grow to about 2 ft (60 cm) high.

Sea fan

Douglas Faulkner

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 (Gorgonia), any of a genus of invertebrate marine animals of the order Gorgonacea (class Anthozoa, phylum Cnidaria). It is a variety of coral composed of numerous polyps—cylindrical sessile (attached) forms—that grow together in a flat, fanlike pattern. Each polyp in the colony has some multiple of six tentacles, as opposed to the eightfold symmetry of the similar black coral. A central internal skeleton, composed of a flexible, horny substance called gorgonin, supports all branches of the colony, and the living tissues form a layer over its entire surface. The tissues are often coloured in hues of red, yellow, or orange. The polyps spread out their tentacles to form a plankton-catching net. In most cases the fan-shaped colonies grow across the current, which increases their ability to ensnare prey.

      In reproduction, fertilized eggs develop into microscopic ciliated larvae (planulae). Each larva disperses from the parent colony before it metamorphoses in adult form. Each newly metamorphosed polyp eventually gives rise to an entire sea fan colony through asexual budding.

      There are about 500 species of Gorgonia, and they differ markedly in their branching patterns. All, however, grow to approximately 61 cm (2 feet) in height. Sea fans are found in the shallow waters of all oceans, but they are especially abundant along the Atlantic coasts of Florida, Bermuda, and the West Indies.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sea fan — (s[=e] f[a^]n ). (Zo[ o]l.) Any gorgonian which branches in a fanlike form, especially {Gorgonia flabellum} of Florida and the West Indies. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sea fan — sea′ fan n. ivt any of certain gorgonian corals, esp. Gorgonia flabellum, of the West Indies, in which the colony assumes a fanlike form …   From formal English to slang

  • sea fan — n. any of several gorgonians with the axial skeleton formed into a fanlike structure; esp., a horny coral (Gorgonia flabellum) of the West Indies and Florida Keys …   English World dictionary

  • sea fan — noun corals having a treelike or fan shaped horny skeleton • Hypernyms: ↑gorgonian, ↑gorgonian coral * * * noun : a gorgonian that branches in a fanlike form; especially : a gorgonian (Gorgonia flabellum) of Florida and the West Indies * * * any… …   Useful english dictionary

  • sea fan — noun Date: 1633 any of various gorgonians (especially genus Gorgonia) with a fan shaped skeleton; especially either of two (Gorgonia ventalina and G. flabellum) of Florida and the West Indies …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sea fan — noun a horny coral with a vertical tree or fan like skeleton. [Gorgonis and other genera.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • sea fan — /ˈsi fæn/ (say see fan) noun any of certain anthozoans of the order Gorgonacea in which the colony assumes a fanlike form …   Australian English dictionary

  • sea-fan — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Multicoloured sea fan — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum …   Wikipedia

  • Broad sea fan — Taxobox name = Broad sea fan status = VU | status system = IUCN2.3 regnum = Animalia phylum = Cnidaria classis = Anthozoa ordo = Gorgonacea familia = Plexauridae genus = Eunicella species = E. verrucosa binomial = Eunicella verrucosa binomial… …   Wikipedia


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