noun, plural: sea fans
A soft coral species that is characterized by its fanlike form
Soft corals belong to the order Alcyonacea. They are exemplified by sea fans and sea whips. These animals are flexible and soft-bodied. They can be found to inhabit darker and colder areas of the ocean. Sea fan corals are species of soft corals characterized by their fanlike form. Many of them belong to the genus Gorgonia.
An example of species of sea fans is Gorgonia flabellum. It is also known as the Venus sea fan or the common sea fan. It is a sessile colonial soft coral. It is a colonial coral composed of a lattice of branches in a single plane. Its branches are flattened at right angles to the plane of the fan. The fan is generally oriented perpendicular to the incoming waves. It is white, yellowish, or pale lavender in color. It can grow to a height of 1.5 m.1
Another sea fan species is the purple sea fan, Gorgonia ventalina. It is a colonial coral found in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It has several main branches and a latticework of linking smaller branches. It has a similar appearance to Gorgonia flabellum. While G. flabellum has flattened branches at right angles to the plane of the fan, G. ventalina has round or flattened branches that are parallel to the plane.
1 Gorgonia flabellum. Retrieved from ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgonia-flabellum.