Did You Know? 15 Incredible Black Coral Facts

Black coral facts about the deep-dwelling coral species.

Black coral, order Antipatharia, is one of the fascinating living organisms in the world. Since the scientific world has not yet scoped this species’ complete biology, a lot remains to be yet understood. However, it is a known and well-defined fact that this organism is one of the oldest living organisms in the world. To the unscientific eye, it remains a visual wonder owing to its aesthetic value. This is also the reason why it is exploited in the jewelry industry. This slow-growing species is mainly found in deep-sea waters where the growth rings laid down as the skeleton can be used for determining the age of the species. This marine species can grow even in those parts of the reef where sunlight is unable to reach.

Black coral has very few predators except sea snails or turtles. As a result, scientists believe that one of the subspecies Leiopathes glaberrima has survived for more than 4,200 years. This age makes Leiopathes glaberrima one of the oldest animals on the earth. Keep reading to find out more about black coral diving facts. Afterward, do check our other articles on sea squirt facts and brain coral facts as well.

Black Coral

Fact File

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

3.94-118 in (10-300 cm)

How tall are they?

Medium to large size

What do they look like?

Black color

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Global warming and black market sales

What is their conservation status?

Not Listed

Where you'll find them

Oceans and Deep Sea


Au’au Channel, Hawaii





Scientific Name



Antipathidae, Aphanipathidae



Black Coral Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black coral?

A black coral reef is a type of coral that belongs to the class of deep-water, soft corals having light spines. Antipatharians (common name black coral) consist of various genera, and species and scientists have faced scientific conflicts in being able to accurately classify these black corals. It is an animal species made up entirely of protein and chitin.

What class of animal does a black coral belong to?

A black coral reef taxonomic is classified under the biological class of Anthozoa, order Antipatharia, which includes organisms that are both vertebrate and invertebrate, and exist in seas and oceans. The class of Anthozoa is inclusive of sea anemones, soft corals, such as black corals, and stony corals.

How many black corals are there in the world?

Scientists have not been able to put an exact number on the total numbers of black coral reefs in the deep world or colony since this species usually occurs in large colonies. However, it has been estimated that there are over 150 species of black coral.

Where does a black coral live?

Black corals reef are found in both deep seas as well as oceans colony where growth occurs. Antipatharians (common name black coral) are normally found at varying depths of these water bodies.

What is a black coral's habitat?

A black coral grows on the deep ocean bed or seabed. Black corals are firmly fixed to the floor of these large water bodies, and they are found in colonies, sometimes toward the shallower sides of these water bodies and sometimes deeper than 328 ft (100 m). However, black coral is not found in brackish waters.

Who do black corals live with?

Black corals are found living in large colonies that are usually home to other organisms such as tiny fish in the seas and oceans.

How long does a black coral live?

The average life expectancy that has been observed for black coral is the growth of 70 years depending on the species.

How does it reproduce?

Black corals reproduce sexually as well as asexually. Since scientists have not been able to conduct in-depth researches on black corals, there is little knowledge about the details of this organism’s reproductive behavior. However, it is observed that sexual reproduction usually happens when colonies have been established. Before such establishment, if a black coral finds itself alone in the water, it will reproduce asexually, so as to establish a new colony of black corals. Asexual reproduction usually proceeds with the polyp anchoring itself into the floor and allowing its skeleton to build around itself, and gradually increase in size and population.

What is its conservation status?

Black corals are not yet reserved and listed on the IUCN Conservation Lists since scientists have been unable to conduct thorough research on the species, and not much is known about its conservation status. However, for about a decade now, reports state that corals from all over the world are endangered owing to the growing impact of global warming.

Black Coral Fun Facts

What do black corals look like?

Black corals are colonial animals that are related to stony corals and sea anemones.

Black corals, also known as Antipatharians, or thorn corals, are found in most ocean water, sometimes near the surface and at other times in the depths of the waters. The skeletons of black corals are usually observed to look like trees, coils, whips, or even fans. The reason they are also referred to as thorn corals is the existence of tiny spikes along the lining of their skeletons. These thorns are usually extremely tiny. They can vary in shape and size along the lining of the skeleton. The skeletons of black corals develop an outer covering as the coral grows. These polyps grow to be as large as 0.078 in (198 mm) and normally have six tentacles. A peculiar fact is that the polyps are not of fixed color. Rather, they can be found in different colors.

How cute are they?

Black corals are magnificent to look at rather than cute. The reason is coral reefs usually stretch for long distances and to think and marvel at this creation of nature is truly magnificent.

How does it communicate?

To date, scientists and marine biologists have been unable to conduct extensive and comprehensive research on the black coral. This is one of the reasons why not much is known about the various aspects of the life of these organisms. However, one thing that scientists have observed is its intimate and constant symbiotic relationship with the algae that make the corals their habitat. However, not much else can be discussed regarding the manner by which black corals communicate.

How big are black corals?

Since black corals are essentially a type of corals, they normally have skeletons that can grow between 3.94-118 in (10-300 cm).

Can black corals move?

No, black coral is always firmly fixed to the ocean bed or sea bed, no matter the depth at which they occur. However, the tentacles of their polyps have the ability to move to catch plankton and other meiofauna.

How much do black corals weigh?

Black corals live in colonies up to 6 ft (1.82 m) high. The individual polyps may be less than 0. 04 in (1.01 mm) wide and are cylindrical in shape with six non-retractable tentacles that are armed with stinging cells. The weight of the species varies greatly as per the size of the colony.

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific name has been allocated to male and female species of black corals. However, black corals have been observed to be hermaphroditic in nature, and even in the case of being of different sexes, these can only be distinguished on the basis of physical structures.

What would you call a baby black coral?

A baby black coral would be referred to by the generic name of its species since no specific name has been assigned to it.

What does it eat?

The polyps of a black coral typically eat plankton that is drawn into the corals by the currents of water.

Is it harmful?

No, black coral is not at all harmful for humans.

Would it make a good pet?

Black corals are not vertebrates and mobile animals that can be interacted with. They are stationary organisms that grow along ocean and sea beds. Moreover, black corals are gradually dying out. Hence it is best to leave black corals to their natural habitat and protect them from extinction.

Did you know...

About 75% of black coral species are found at depths beyond 50 ft (15 m).

Black corals used to be used for rituals and medical treatments in older days.

How much is black coral worth?

Nowadays, black corals are typically used for jewelry. Their costs are the highest when they are black in color and have a gloss to their skeletons.

How old is black coral?

It was found in 2009 that some black coral colonies were older than 42,00 years. This means that these colonies of black corals are the oldest living creatures in the world.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other cnidarians including coral facts, or sea nettle facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Black coral coloring pages.



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