Bubblegum Coral | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Bubblegum Coral

Paragorgia arborea

Distribution

Sub-polar to polar waters in the North Atlantic and North-eastern Pacific

Écosystèmes/habitats

Hard or soft sediment in areas with strong currents

Feeding Habits

Filter feeder

Conservation Status

Not listed

Taxonomie

Class Anthozoa (corals, anemones & relatives); Order Alcyonacea (soft corals)

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Bubblegum corals are one of the largest coral species found in North America. They get their name  from their appearance: they are often bright pink and the polyps at the end of their branches resemble wads of gum. These polyps are individual animals that make up the coral colony. Bubblegum corals are cold, deep-water corals that rely on filter feeding. Each polyp has eight tentacles, which usually emerge at night to feed. The tentacles capture prey, such as plankton, that drift by in the ocean currents.

Like most corals species, bubblegum corals reproduce. They are “broadcast spawners,” meaning they release huge amounts of sperm and eggs into the water column at the same time. The fertilized eggs then float along strong ocean currents until they settle on the ocean floor. While most corals anchor themselves on a hard substrate, like a rock, bubblegum corals can also anchor themselves in the mud or sand. They need to be in areas with strong currents to supply them with enough plankton to feed.