This image of a sea fan was taken in near the island nation of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean. Many people are mistaken in thinking sea fans are plants, when they are actually an invertebrate marine animal! Sea fans are variety of coral that is composed of polyps that grow together in a flat fanlike pattern. Each polyp in the colony has eight tentacles. A central internal skeleton supports all branches of the colony, and the living tissues form a layer over its entire surface. The tissues are often colored red, yellow, or orange. The polyps spread out their tentacles to form a plankton catching net. In most cases the fan-shaped colonies grow across the current, which increases their ability to ensnare prey.
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