Eunicella verrucosa (Pallas, 1766)

Sea fan

Eunicella verrucosa

Description: This sea fan forms large colonies which branch profusely, mostly in one plane. It is typically salmon pink but may be white in colour. Grows up to 300mm tall and 400mm wide. Grows very slowly in British waters, approximately 10mm per year, thus collection for the tourist trade endangers local populations. Please do not collect sea-fans and likewise attempt to dissuade others who may do so.

Habitat: Attached to rocks and boulders, usually with the fan orientated across the current, in depths of 10-100m.

Distribution: Locally common on south and west coasts of the British Isles, also around southwest Europe and the Mediterranean. In Ireland substantial populations are present in Galway and Donegal bays, but this species is rare elsewhere. These populations may be very isolated, in Galway Bay nearly all individuals are white in colour. Further infomation on its distribution in the British Isles would be welcomed.

Similar Species: May be confused with Swiftia pallida. Possibly other species of sea-fan occur in British waters: most likely is Eunicella singularis (=Eunicella stricta) which is white, with less branching than Eunicella verrucosa, and with long vertical terminal branches.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map: NBN map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Eunicella verrucosa (Pallas, 1766). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2024-06-24

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