Black Coral
Antipathes sp.

f8 @ 1/60s, ASA 64, Ektachrome 64 slide film, Nikonos II w 15mm, Oceanic 2000 flash

"Antipathes," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Antipathes is a genus of coral in the order Antipatharia, composed of black coral so named for its black skeleton. Distinct features vary greatly within this genus, containing symmetrically aligned as well as irregularly shaped corals, a range of different colors, and colonies that can be either sparsely branched or closely packed. Polyps for these corals have six tentacles that are each lined with stinging cells Unlike their reef building cousins, these coral lack the photosynthesizing algae and are not restricted to the lighter surface regions. These corals prefer to live in deeper waters near currents so they can catch and eat passing zooplankton.
Salt River Canyon, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands