While alive, black corals are actually white, like this specimen in Fiordland. Most black corals are deep-sea species, but in the dark waters of Fiordland, Antipathella fiordensis grows at depths of only 15 to 50 metres. Fiordland’s colonies of black coral carry some brittle stars (in this photograph two are visible). Scientists think they help to keep the coral free of smothering sediments.
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Photograph by Paddy Ryan
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