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Gorgonians, or soft corals, belong to the suborder Holaxonia. These colonial cnidarians are so named because they lack the permanent, rigid skeleton of hard corals. As octocorallians, they possess 8 tentacles and 8 complete mesentaries. Only a single siphonoglyph is present.Branches in gorgonians are arranged around a central axis.Leptogorgia virgulata colonies are moderately branching into whip-like stalks. Polyps occur in multiple rows along 2 sides of each branch. Branch color is variable and may range from shades of purple, red, orange or yellow. Polyps are white.

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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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