You can encounter beautiful Octocorals in our local beaches. Octocorals, as the name suggests, have polyps with eight tentacles, unlike hard corals that have polyps with six tentacles. These corals are characterized by having an internal skeleton composed of calcium spicules or protein called sclerites, as opposed to the calcareous skeleton of hard corals. You can observe these corals in various beaches in the city, such as Isla Aguja, Bahía Taganga, the reefs of El Morro, and the entire Tayrona Park. If you want to have a great experience getting to know these beautiful species, we recommend diving with Caribbean Pro Dive Center.
The name of this coral may sound funny to many people, but in reality, the term “coral octocoral” is redundant, as all octocoral corals belong to the broader group of corals. Corals are divided into two main groups: hard corals (also known as stony corals or hermatypic corals) and soft corals (also called octocoral corals or alcyonarian corals).
Octocorals are known for their varied shapes and colors, and they can be found in a wide range of marine environments, from shallow waters to deep waters. Unlike hard corals, octocorals do not build massive reefs but usually form loose or branching colonies.
These corals are important for marine ecosystems as they provide habitats and shelter for a variety of marine organisms, including fish and other invertebrates. That’s why when you see them, do not touch or disturb them, just admire their beauty. They also play a crucial role in water filtration and organic matter production. Like other corals, octocorals also face threats such as climate change, pollution, ocean acidification, and habitat degradation. These threats can affect their health and survival, highlighting the importance of their conservation and protection.
Diving with Caribbean Pro Dive Center, you will learn about all of this and much more!