Common Sea Fan

Gorgonia ventalina

Maximum Size:

5 ft (1.8 m)



Typical depth:

15–50 ft (2–15 m)


Sea fans get their name from their fan-like appearance. They are often purple in color and produce lots of small branches that connect to form a net-like pattern. They are often found in rough areas with strong currents, which provides a replenishing source of nutrients and microscope plankton that they consume. Individuals usually orient themselves perpendicular to prevailing waves and currents to maximize the flow of water over their surface. Like hard corals, they also photosynthesize.


Nudibranchs and flamingo tongues.

Did you know?

The common sea fan is found throughout Southern Florida and the Caribbean and is often confused with the less common Venus sea fan.