• Norwegian: bløtkoraller


The eight armed soft corals have no need to produce calcium carbonate from water, to build coral reefs, like the hard corals. The colonies are usually upright fans or fingered stolons with its base in mud or sand. They contain small spiny skeletal elements called sclerites, supporting the colony stem and making the flesh less attractive among potential predators. The polyps arise singly from the stem.

Alcyonacea is yet another order of cnidarians that has been heavily reorganized since the end of the 20th century. The order is currently assigned species that are loosely known as soft corals and sea fans. The most abundant soft coral along the coast of Norway is the Dead man's fingers. The most common sea fan, at least on diveable depths, is Paramuricea placomus.

The three common sea fans in the Norwegian fjords: P. arborea, P. placomus and P. resedaeformis. They thrive on current exposed locations and are often used by Gorgon's Head as a platform to catch food passing by.

If you are prepared to exceed a depth of 40 meters, the Trondheim Fjord offers fantastic displays with an abundance of corals, in this case P. placomus, usually associated with tropical waters.

Electrical, underwater scooters are excellent tools while surveying in strong currents. Here we encountered a small P. arborea surrounded by P. placomus.