Marine Wildlife Encyclopedia
Lophelia Coral Lophelia pertusa
Lophelia reefs more than 8 miles (13 km) long and 100 ft (30 m) high have been recorded off the coast of Norway. Because it lives in deep, dark water, this cold-water coral has no zooxanthellae to help build its white, branching skeleton. It therefore grows very slowly, and such large reefs are many hundreds of years old. Each polyp has 16 tentacles, which it uses to capture prey such as zooplankton and even krill from the passing current. Stinging cells render the prey immobile and it is then transferred to the mouth.