British Marine Life Study Society

(in the class Octocorallia of the Anthozoa)

Class Alcyonaria (Octocorallia)

Common Shallow Sea British species of Sea Pens

Sea Pens belong to the Order Pennatulacea (in the Class Alcyonaria [Octocorallia], of the Anthozoa). In other words they are soft coral-like animals in the shape of a pen, that superficially resembles a plant if it lived on land The have stinging organelles like the sea anemones and all cnidarians, which are contained in polyps along the branches off from the long axial polyp (the pen or oozoid). The sessile Sea Pens can capture small organisms brought in by the gentle currents. They can be found in sheltered low energy sites, which means silt on the bottom.

Pennatula phosphorea

Deep red shallow water species found buried in mud below 15 metres depth, but not in the English Channel. Broad pen.

Virgularia mirabilis

Slender sea pen found in deep mud, and off-white in colour. Requires sheltered conditions where it will be found in Scottish sea lochs and fjords. If the sheltered conditions are available, this species is widespread from Norway to the Mediterranean. Usually in water deeper than 10 metres.

The Norwegian Marine *** Web Site contains photographs.


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