This non-photosynthetic gorgonian was growing on a reef wall in the Solomon Islands, where it had ample opportunity to filter phyto-plankton and organic detritus from the passing water column. Note "marine snow" trapped on its surface. While such filter feeding gorgonians grow rapidly in the natural environment, the shortage of their special food makes them difficult to grow in aquariums. J. Sprung bottom from which polyps then arise (e.g. Anthelia spp., Stereo-soma spp.); or a combination of these (e.g. Xenia, Cespitularia, some Cladiella, some Sinularia and Heteroxenia spp. ).
As we described earlier, gorgonians grow primarily by increasing the number of branches and increasing their length. Encrusting genera such as Briareum and Erythropodium grow by spreading their coenenchyme across the substratum with polyps arising from this surface.
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