Capnella gaboensis Click to enlarge image
Soft coral, Capnella gaboensis Image: Richard Ling
© CC BY NC ND

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    gaboensis
    Genus
    Capnella
    Family
    Neptheidae
    Order
    Alcyonacea
    Subclass
    Octocorallia
    Class
    Anthozoa
    Phylum
    Cnidaria
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    15 cm

Introduction

Close relatives of the sea pens, soft corals live in colonies attached to the seabed and can be flat, covering rock surfaces, or branched.

Identification

Soft coral has a flat form, growing in folds on the rocky surface, and is usually a grey colour that darkens when the polyps expand to feed.

Habitat

Soft corals live in coastal waters.

Distribution

Soft corals are found from South Australia to northern New South Wales.

Feeding and diet

Soft corals all have polyps with eight feathery branches. These polyps feed just like those of hard corals and anemones, using stinging cells to capture tiny marine animals. Capnella gaboensis is the most abundant soft coral around the New South Wales coast.