occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Moderately widespread distribution in the tropical western Atlantic, including southern Florida, Bahamas, Curacao and Puerto Rico. Species has not been found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Lesser Antilles or Bermuda.
Habitat Type: Marine
Comments: Species occurs on few hardbottom community classes. The depth range is reported to 30 m but is not typically found below 15 m.
Depth range (m): 1.5 - 9
Depth range (m): 1.5 - 9
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Comments: Updated information needed on distribution and number of occurrences in the tropical western Atlantic.
1000 - 2500 individuals
Comments: Species is found on few hardbottom community classes, including patch reefs, fringing reefs, spur and groove reefs and transitional reefs.
A84GUZ01FCUS, A90WIL01FCUS: disease(s?) of unknown etiology have caused mass mortalities in populations of this species off Costa Rica, Colombia, and Panama. A81ANT02FCUS: Species is rarely encountered with black band disease.
Life History and Behavior
No information on reproductive ecology or recruitment patterns from resources consulted.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Gorgonia flabellum
No available public DNA sequences.
Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Gorgonia flabellum
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This species of sea fan is found on a limited number of community classes but is moderately widespread in the tropical western Atlantic. Disease has been known to impact populations. Sedimentation represents the most serious threat to reef communities.
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: Updated information needed on status and trend of extant populations.
Degree of Threat: B : Moderately threatened throughout its range, communities provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure of the community over the long-term, but are apparently recoverable
Comments: Species is seldom inflicted with disease but pesticides and heavy metals have been found in tissue samples taken from Biscayne National Park, Florida. Species relies on well-flushed areas to maintain colony surfaces and will be adveresely impacted even from moderate sediment loads.
Biological Research Needs: Little is known concerning life history strategies, specifically reproductive potential and recruitment patterns. Information is needed on specific threats, icluding incidence of disease as related to water quality.
Global Protection: Few (1-3) occurrences appropriately protected and managed
Comments: The only known protected occurrences are from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Needs: Nearshore reef areas need to be monitored for water quality.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Comments: B77CAI01FCUS: may be collected for shell trade where not protected.
The Venus sea fan is a delicate-looking colonial soft coral in the form of a fan composed of a lattice of branches in a single plane. The coral grows from a small base, forming several main branches with side branches and a network of small branchlets. The Venus sea fan is similar in appearance to Gorgonia ventalina but has a slightly more untidy shape and short, stubby side growths coming out of the main plane. 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. The wide-mesh sea fan (Gorgonia mariae) is also similar in appearance but at only 30 cm is smaller and many of the branchlets do not interconnect. The Venus sea fan is white, yellowish or pale lavender. The fan is often found oriented perpendicular to the incoming waves and can grow to a height of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in).
Distribution and habitat
The Venus sea fan is very common in the Bahamas and in this location is easily distinguishable from G. ventalina. In other parts of its range, Florida and the Lesser Antilles, however, the two species are more easily confused.[why?] It is a shallow water species seldom exceeding a depth of 10 metres (33 ft) and favours locations with strong wave action.
The skeleton of the Venus sea fan is composed of calcite and a collagen-like substance. Embedded in this are the coral polyps, each of which is a filter feeder and extends its eight tentacles to catch plankton drifting past with the current. The tissues contain a symbiotic dinoflagellate algae Symbiodinium spp. which is photosynthetic and uses sunlight to create organic carbon compounds which are then available to the host coral.
- "WoRMS - World Register of Marine Species - Gorgonia flabellum Linnaeus, 1758". Marinespecies.org. http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=290029. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
- Colin, Patrick L. (1978). Marine Invertebrates and Plants of the Living Reef. T.F.H. Publications. p. 174–175. ISBN 0-86622-875-6.
- "Common sea fan (Gorgonia ventalina)". Interactive Guide to Caribbean Diving. Marine Species Identification Portal. http://species-identification.org/species.php?species_group=caribbean_diving_guide&menuentry=soorten&id=350&tab=beschrijving. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
- "Gorgonia flabellum (Linnaeus 1758)". Coralpedia. http://coralpedia.bio.warwick.ac.uk/en/octocorals/gorgonia_flabellum.html. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Bayer (1961) recognizes two forms in this species: forma flabellum and forma occatoria.