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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Mediterranean Red Coral Corallium rubrum

Often called precious coral, Mediterranean red coral has been collected and its skeleton made into jewelry for centuries. In spite of its name, it is not a true stony coral but instead is in the same group as sea fans (see Common Sea Fan). Like them, the Mediterranean red coral's branches are covered in small polyps, each of which has eight branched tentacles. However, the supporting skeleton is made mainly from hard calcium carbonate colored a deep red or pink. This coral is now scarce in places that are easily accessible to collectors.

Mediterranean Red Coralzoom image
  • Class Anthozoa
  • Height Up to 20 in (50 cm)
  • Depth 165–650 ft (50–200 m)
  • Habitat Shaded rocks and caves
  • Distribution Mediterranean and warm waters of eastern Atlantic
Mediterranean Red Coral habitat mapzoom image