A small colony of the black coral Bathypathes at 2,004 meters depth on Retriever Seamount. The black coral polyps are so small, and the tissue on the skeleton so thin, that the tentacles appear to arise directly from the branches. In this group of black corals, the polyps are stretched out along the branch so that instead of a ring of six tentacles surrounding the mouth, the tentacles arise in pairs, with the central pair flanking a raised cone that bears the mouth.

A small colony of the black coral Bathypathes at 2,004 meters depth on Retriever Seamount. The black coral polyps are so small, and the tissue on the skeleton so thin, that the tentacles appear to arise directly from the branches. In this group of black corals, the polyps are stretched out along the branch so that instead of a ring of six tentacles surrounding the mouth, the tentacles arise in pairs, with the central pair flanking a raised cone that bears the mouth. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts.

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