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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Pulse Coral Xenia species

The most notable feature of this soft coral is the way the feathery tentacles of the polyps rapidly and continually open and close. A reef covered in fast-pulse coral is alive with movement. The colonies have a stout trunk with a dome-shaped top covered with long polyps. Unlike mushroom leather coral (see image), pulse coral polyps cannot retract and disappear. The pulsating movements of the polyps may help to oxygenate the colony as well as bring food within range of their tentacles.

Pulse Coralzoom image
  • Class Anthozoa
  • Height Up to 2 in (5 cm)
  • Depth 15–165 ft (5–50 m)
  • Habitat Coral reefs
  • Distribution Tropical reefs of the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and western Pacific
Pulse Coral habitat mapzoom image