The Yellow Gorgonian Eunicella Cavolinii

Eunicella cavolinii, commonly known as the yellow gorgonian or yellow sea whip, is a species of colonial soft coral in the family Gorgonidae. It is native to parts of the western Atlantic Ocean and most of the Mediterranean, where it is a common species.

Eunicella cavolini is a much-branched soft coral growing to a height of about 50 cm. It is fan-shaped with the irregular, cylindrical branches largely growing in a single plane. The stem has an enlarged base fixed to the substrate and the branches are smooth, short and about 3 mm thick. The coenenchyme (the thin fleshy covering of the stiff skeleton) is yellowish-orange. The polyps  are white to yellow, about 2 mm long and arranged in four rows. Eunicella cavolini can be confused with the warty gorgonian (Eunicella verrucosa). Eunicella cavolini is common throughout the Mediterranean Sea. It grows mainly between 10 and 30 m but can be found as deep as 150 m.

The polyps expand their tentacles to catch zooplankton. The food fragments are passed to the mouth and then move into the gut to be digested. The nutrients are then transferred to all parts of the colony via channels in the living matrix of the branches. The fan is usually orientated perpendicular to the current so as to maximise the capture of prey.

 The growth rate is slow, at about 1 to 2 cm. per year.

(exstract from Wikipedia)

Gorgonia gialla - Eunicella cavolini - yellow Gorgonian -
Gorgonia gialla – Eunicella cavolini – yellow Gorgonian –

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