:  The Octocorals
Anthozoa: Octocorals
Body Form: Octocorals generally have soft bodies and produce sclerites (calcium carbonate supporting fibers) to aid in support. Most have larval forms with 8 tentacles. There are exceptions: blue coral has a calcerous skeleton and gorgonians produce gorgonin. Gorgonin is a protein like mammalian kertatin that is used for gorgonian support. Stinging cells called nematocysts are used to paralyze and catch prey.
Natural History: The octocorals include the soft corals, gorgonians, blue coral, mat polyps, and sea pens. They are polytrophic and can gain nutrition from multiple sources, including dissolved chemicals, microplankton, plankton, and sometimes larger prey. Their autozooids are their primary feeding polyps. Some species also have siphonozooids which circulate water. Many species feed more by absorption than by predator-prey. Many species produce toxins that are hazardous to the organisms around them.
Acanthogorgiidae
Acalycigorgia, Acanthogorgia, Anthogorgia, Calcigorgia, Cyclomuricea, Muricella, Versluysia
Alcyoniidae
Leather, Finger Leather, Encrusting Leather, Colt, Lobed Leather, Devil's Hand, Cabbage Leather, Toadstool, Mushroom Leather, Trough, Cabbage Leather, Knobby Leather, and Flexible Leather Corals
Clavulariidae
Clove Polyps, Palm Tree Polyps, Fern Polyps, Star Polyps, Green Star Polyps, Daisy Polyps, and Organ-Pipe Corals
Gorgoniidae
SeaFan, Sea Spray, Sea Whip, Sea Plume, Sea Feather, Purple Frilly Gorgonian, Sea Blade, Sea Rod
Nephtheidae
Kenya Tree, Tree, Cauliflower Soft, and Carnation Corals
Plexauridae
Knobby Sea Rod, Candelabrum, Spiny Sea Fan, Spiny Sea Whip, Rough Sea Plume, Lamarck's Gorgonian, Feather Gorgonian, Sea Rod, Slit-pore Sea Rod, Porous Sea Rod, Red-polyped Gorgonian, and Orange Tree Gorgonian
Tubiporidae
Star Polyps, Green Star Polyps, Daisy Polyps, Organ-pipe Coral
Xeniidae
Pulse, Waving Hand, Pom-Pom Xenia


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