Black whip corals (Antipathidae)

Photo Credit: S.W. Ross and M. Rhode (UNCW)

Description: At first glance black doesn’t seem like an appropriate name but, underneath the fleshy colorful skin and polyps, the skeleton of this coral is black. Black corals have been exploited for use in jewelry and carvings. Because it is so slow growing, many countries have strictly regulated harvest and banned the export of black corals. There are many species that live in very deep water and it’s difficult to precisely identify individual black corals once they’ve made it to market.

Depth Profile

Figure 2: Approximate depth range of Black whip corals (black box). Slope of seafloor is a generalized representation of the Gulf of Mexico shelf and outer continental shelf.