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Red Gorgonian - Lophogorgia chilensis
Photo by CBNMS-Michael Carver

Red gorgonians are sea fans that reside in the cold waters off the west coast of North America. These fans average 91 centimeters (36 in) in size and grow along rocky outcrops at depths of 16 – 66 meters (50–200 feet). The red colored flexible branches of this species are covered with small white polyps, which are used to filter nutrients from the water. Occasionally other organisms, such as zooanthid anemones, colonize on the gorgonian.

Red Gorgonian
(Lophogorgia chilensis)

Monterey Bay California, to Mexico

Rocky structures and walls between the depths of 16 – 66 meters (50-200 ft)

Micro-organisms caught by filter-feeding


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
Red gorgonians have few predators, however the simnia, a small spindle shaped snail, is know to live and feed on their branches.

Learn More
- California Department of Fish and Game