Awestruck yet again.
On yesterday’s exploratory dive, my buddies and I discovered a “garden” of Sea Whips and Orange Sea Pens at only 65′ (20 m).
These are the most surreal looking organisms.
They are octocorals – colonies of 8-tentacled polyp-like animals. The polyps filter feed on plankton.
The Sea Whips can reach a height of 2.5 meters (Halipteris willemoesi). Orange Sea Pens can be 48 cm tall (Ptilosarcus gurney).
This is another case where images speak louder than words.
Please enjoy the following photos and clips of Sea Whips and Orange Sea Pens and . . . the predators that stalk them.
Nudibranch fan alert !
2.5 minute clip below is of Sea Whips and Orange Sea Pens and the predators that stalk them.
The BBC video below is from SW Tasmania in Australia, NOT Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia and shows a different species of sea pen. However, I have included it as it shows, with time lapse photography, how sea pens can slowly deflate and retract in response to predation attempts by nudibranchs.
Video: 1 minute of an Orange Sea Pen and Graceful Decorator Crab in the current in front of Port McNeill, BC.
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