California golden gorgonian and small juvenile sheephead fishes on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater. The golden gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Each individual polyp is a distinct animal, together they secrete calcium that forms the structure of the colony. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by.
Species: California golden gorgonian, Muricea californica, Semicossyphus pulcher
Location: San Clemente Island, California
Image ID: 23421