Red Gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis

The Red gorgonian (Lophogorgia chilensis) is my favorite species of sea fan. I got some nice shots of red gorgonians at San Clemente Island a few weeks ago. Like the golden gorgonion alongside which it is commonly found, the elegant red gorgonian is a colonial invertebrate that grows on rocky temperate reefs at depths of 40′ to 200′. The seemingly delicate red gorgonian colonies, which reach about 3′ in size, sway gracefully with passing currents and swells. Each long thin strand in the colony is composed of calcium upon which hundreds of tiny polyps — individual animals — grow. The polyps look like small anemones which is not surprising as they are evolutionary cousins. The polyps extend their arms to grasp plankton and detritus that floats by in the current. The fan-shaped colony is usually oriented perpendicular to prevailing ocean currents to optimize this filter feeding.

Red gorgonian polyps.  The red gorgonian is a colonial organism composed of thousands of tiny polyps.  Each polyp secretes calcium which accumulates to form the structure of the colony.  The fan-shaped gorgonian is oriented perpendicular to prevailing ocean currents to better enable to filter-feeding polyps to capture passing plankton and detritus passing by, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian polyps. The red gorgonian is a colonial organism composed of thousands of tiny polyps. Each polyp secretes calcium which accumulates to form the structure of the colony. The fan-shaped gorgonian is oriented perpendicular to prevailing ocean currents to better enable to filter-feeding polyps to capture passing plankton and detritus passing by.
Image ID: 03480
Species: Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian.
Image ID: 00616
Species: Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, Macrocystis pyrifera, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater. The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by.
Image ID: 23420
Species: Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, Macrocystis pyrifera
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

Simnia and egg cluster on red gorgonian, Delonovolva aequalis, Lophogorgia chilensis, Anacapa Island

Simnia and egg cluster on red gorgonian.
Image ID: 01983
Species: Simnia, Delonovolva aequalis, Lophogorgia chilensis
Location: Anacapa Island, California, USA

Bryozoan grows on a red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Bryozoan grows on a red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater. The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by.
Image ID: 25395
Species: Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater.  The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by, Lophogorgia chilensis, San Clemente Island

Red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater. The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by.
Image ID: 25393
Species: Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA

See my full collection of photos of red gorgonians and photos of Lophogorgia chilensis.

Keywords: red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis, underwater, California, sea fan.