Black Coral
Antipathes pennacea

f8 @ 1/60s, Ektachrome 64 slide film, ASA 64, Nikonos II w 15mm, Oceanic flash, Ikelite slave flash

"Black Coral," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Black corals (Antipatharia) are a group of deep water, tree-like corals related to sea anemones. They are also found in rare dark shallow water areas such as New Zealand's Milford Sound where they can be viewed from an underwater observatory. They normally occur in the tropics. There are about 230 known species of Antipatharians in 42 genera. Though black coral's living tissue is brilliantly colored, it takes its name from the distinctive black or dark brown color of its skeleton. Also unique to black coral are the tiny spines that cover the surface of the skeleton, the origin of the nickname little thorn coral. In the Hawaiian language, black coral is called kaha k moana and is the official state gem of Hawaii. Black coral is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Salt River Canyon, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands