Octocorallia

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Octocorallia
Temporal range:
Cambrian to Recent
Pink soft coral Nick Hobgood.jpg
Dendronephthya klunzingeri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Subclass: Octocorallia
Order:
Synonyms

Alcyonaria

Octocorallia is a subclass of the Anthozoa in the phylum Cnidaria. There are over 3.000 different species.

These animals have an eight-fold symmetry. Most are colonial sessile polyps. Octocorallia look like the stony corals. Stony corals have a six-fold symmetry, and are classified in the group Hexacorallia. Unlike the stony corals, most Octocoralllia lack a lasting skeleton. For this reason, they do not build coral reefs. An older name for this group is Alcyonaria.

Many species form symbioses with unicellular algae. Octocorallia have many enemies: For this reason, many are toxic, or they taste bad. Many species of the Octocorallia can reproduce both sexually and asexually: It is common to find a colony of Octocorallia, where most polyps have the same sex.