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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Whip Coral Cirrhipathes species

Whip corals, or wire corals, belong to a group of anthozoans called antipatharians to which the black corals (see Bushy Black Coral) also belong. Whip coral grows as a single unbranched colony that can be either straight or coiled as in the species belonging to the genus Cirripathes shown here (whip corals are difficult to identify and many species remain undescribed). The feeding polyps of whip corals and black corals can be seen easily because, unlike sea fans, they cannot retract their short, pointed tentacles. Gobies live among the tentacles, hanging onto the coral with suckerlike pelvic fins.

Whip Coralzoom image
  • Class Anthozoa
  • Length Up to 3 ft (1 m)
  • Depth 10–165 ft (3–50 m)
  • Habitat Coral reefs
  • Distribution Tropical waters of eastern Indian Ocean and western Pacific
Whip Coral habitat mapzoom image