The soft corals (Alcyonaria) are a group of soft, often feathery forms, with skeletons composed of calcareous or horny particles imbedded in the body wall. Each polyp of a soft coral has eight tentacles. Among the well-known soft corals are the sea pen, sea pansy, whip coral, and organpipe coral. The precious red coral ( Corallium ) of the Mediterranean Sea, used for jewelry, also belongs to that group. The spicules of its skeleton are fused together.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Zoology: Invertebrates