Anemones and Corals: Anthozoa
Deep Water Reef Coral (lophelia Pertusa): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: Deep water reef coral is white or pink and forms irregularly branched bushy or treelike colonies up to 6 feet, 6 inches (2 meters) tall. The brittle tubular branches are about three-eighths to five-eighths inch (1 to 1.5 centimeters) thick.
Geographic range: Deep water reef coral lives in the Atlantic Ocean, the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and in the waters south of New Zealand.
Habitat: Deep water reef coral lives in cold, deep water on hard material. Colonies combine to build reefs and mounds as large as 660 feet (200 meters) high, 0.6 mile (1 kilometer) wide, and 3 miles (5 kilometers) long.
Diet: Deep water reef coral feeds on animal plankton.
Behavior and reproduction: Scientists do not know how deep water reef coral behaves or whether it uses sexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction of new colonies occurs when the fragile branches break and fragments continue to grow.
Deep water reef coral and people: Deep water reef coral has no known importance to people.
Conservation status: Deep water reef coral is not threatened or endangered. ∎
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