Soft coral (Dendronephthya sp.). Photo by Nick Hobgood

Soft Corals

Soft corals, such as sea fingers and sea whips, are soft and bendable and often resemble plants or trees. These corals do not have stony skeletons, but instead grow wood-like cores for support and fleshy rinds for protection. They are referred to as ahermatypes, or non–reef building corals, and they do not always have zooxanthellae.