Warty Gorgonian - Eunicella verrucosa
Eunicella verrucosa, the broad sea fan, pink sea fan or warty gorgonian, is a species of colonial Gorgonian “soft coral” in the Gorgoniidae family.
Eunicella verrucosa has a densely branching, fan-like stem and usually grows in a single plane. It orientates itself at right angles to the direction of water movement and can grow to a height of 50 cm (20 in), although 25 cm (10 in) is a more usual size. Stems and branches are covered with wart-like growths from which the polyps protrude. The colour can vary from red, through pink to white.
Eunicella verrucosa is native to the northeastern Atlantic and the western Mediterranean Sea. Its range extends from the southwestern coasts of Britain and Ireland to France, Spain, Italy, Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania. A recent study of genetic connectivity in Eunicella verrucosa identified marked population structure between samples from northwest Ireland, Britain, France and southern Portugal It is found growing on rock, timber, metal or concrete and its depth range is 4 to 50 metres . In British waters this sea fan has become scarcer, possibly being damaged by dredging but may benefit from higher seawater temperatures.
Eunicella verrucosa is usually orientated at right angles to the direction of water flow across the colony. The polyps expand and spread out their tentacles to feed. The nutrients are passed to other parts of the colony through the internal channels connecting the polyps.
(extract from Wikipedia)