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Gorgonians are marine coelenterates of the class Anthozoa, which include sea fan, sea whips, corals, sea anemones and other related species. Based on structural differences in their symmetry, the Anthozoans are divided into three subclasses (Octocorallia, Hexacorallia and Ceriantharia). The sub class Octocorallia includes soft corals (Alcycinacea), sea fans (Gorgonacea), sea pens (Pennatulacea) and blue coral (Helioporacea).They are colonial in habit, polyps have eight tentacles and the body cavity is also divided into eight radial compartments.
The gorgonians are popularly called sea fans and sea whips and are marine sessile coelenterates with a colonial skeleton and living polyps. They are an exceptionaily productive and valuable natural asset. Most of the animals grow in a reticulate pattern and the branches divide in one plane giving the shape of a fan. This book describes the gorgonians found in the waters around the Andaman and Nicobar islands, India.