Gorgonia ventalina is usually purple but can vary to its less common colors of yellow-orange, yellow, and brown. In some cases, the color of the sea fan is a result of the environment and the chemicals in the enviroment. The principle pigments of the sea fan are fixed in the spicules (needle-like parts of solid calcium carbonate). Colors result from chemical pigments produced in the spicules. Since the color of the fan varies, the shape of the spicules is the only positive identifier of G. ventalina. The spicules are small and fusiform. The polyps of the G. ventalina protrude from the spicules as tiny fragile white flowers. It is these individual polyps that form the sea fan.
Gorgonia ventalina can be up to 180 cm tall and 150 cm wide, with anastomose branches, which form uniplanar, reticulate, fan-shaped colonies. The branches are round or slightly compressed in the plane of the fan branch.
Range length: 180 (high) cm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic
- Kester, E. 1900. A Treatise on Zoology Part II. London: Adam and Charles Black.
- Sterrer, W. 1986. Marine Flora and Fauna of Bermuda. New York: Wiley.