Beautiful Purple Hydrocoral

Purple hydrocoral (Stylaster californicus) looks like coral, but it is not a true coral (meaning it is not a reef building stony coral). Both belong to phylum Cnidaria, but true corals belong to class Anthozoa (sea anemones, corals, sea fans, and sea pens) and hydrocorals belong to class Hydrozoa (jellyfish, Portuguese man-of-war, and fire corals). Farnsworth Bank, a sea mount located off the backside of Catalina Island, is one of few places you can see colonies of purple hydrocorals in southern California.

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