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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Carnation Coral Dendronephthya species

Carnation corals are among the most colorful of all reef animals. They grow as branched and bushy colonies and often cover steep reef walls with pink, red, orange, yellow, and white patches. Carnation corals prefer to live where there are fast currents. When the current is running, they expand to full size and the polyps, which are on the branch ends, extend out to feed. With little or no current, they often hang down as flaccid lumps. In some species of carnation coral, such as the one shown here, small slivers of colored calcium carbonate show through the body tissue. These are called sclerites and help to give the soft branches some strength. Individual species of Dendronephthya are difficult to identify visually and many species have not yet been described.

Carnation Coralzoom image
  • Class Anthozoa
  • Height Up to 12 in (30 cm)
  • Depth 33–165 ft (10–50 m)
  • Habitat Coral reefs
  • Distribution Tropical reefs of Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and western Pacific
Carnation Coral habitat mapzoom image