The Octocorals all have 8 tentacles to their corallum and a more flexible skeleton than the calcium carbonate based Hard Corals. They include the Soft, Wire and Fan corals, plus the Sea Pens.
SCUBA diving underwater photography aficionados note that many of these Cnidarians are hosts to small, fascinating macro beasties.
*2022 saw a massive revision of their classification, based on DNA analysis rather than appearance and growth traits. Consequently there will be work in progress as we restructure the gallery accordingly.*
All these Octocorals lack a hard protein skeleton, so can be called truly soft. From the now defunct sub-order Alcyoniina. (1 Album, 3 Galleries)
Living where the currents run, featuring horny, flexible protein-based skeletons. Now in the newly created order Scleracyonacea. (2 Galleries)
A colourful variety of filter feeding structures, all with dubious identities! Featuring the families Euplexauridae, Isidae and Paramuriceidae. (2 Galleries)
Sea Pens are only found out on the sand, beyond the coral reef. Some will retract quickly if alarmed by a blundering diver.
Now in the order Scleracyonacea with their own special superfamily!
What used to be a sub-order of beautiful filter feeders, always found where the currents can run strongly.
They all recognisably have 8 tentacles at least...