Sea pens | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Sea pens

Penatulacea

Distribution

Range depends on species, some are circumglobal while others are more restricted

Ecosystem/Habitat

Sandy or muddy bottoms

Feeding Habits

Filter feeder

Conservation Status

Not listed

Taxonomy

Class Anthozoa (corals, anemones & relatives); Order Pennatulacea (sea pens)

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Sea pens are colonial corals. Like their relatives, sea pens are made up of a colony of several polyps (individual animals). What makes them unique among colonial corals is that each polyp is specialized to perform specific functions. One of their polyps develops into a rigid, erect stalk, which anchors the rest of the colony to the ocean floor. This gives many sea pens an appearance similar to a large feather or old-fashioned quill pen, which is how they got their name.