Golden Gorgonian

California Golden Gorgonian
Muricea californica

The branches of gorgonians are composed of
 thousands of tiny polyps, each an individual animal
which secretes calcium to form the larger colonial sea fan.

Golden gorgonians live in waters between
about 40 - 100 feet deep (12 to 30 m.).
They range from Point Conception, California
to the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.

As the colony grows, annual growth rings
are formed in the skeleton.  Each colony
is made up of animals of the same sex.

Lens: 105mm macro
Film: Velvia
Location: Santa Cruz Island, CA
©2000 Garry McCarthy