(horny coral), an order of alcyonarian coral polyps.
The axial skeleton of Gorgonaria is horny or calcareous. There are approximately 1,200 known species, found in all seas from the polar regions to the equator; they are especially numerous at shallow and middle depths in the tropical areas of the Pacific and Indian oceans. In the USSR there are two species in the Barents Sea, one in the White Sea, and about 20 in the seas of the Far East, including huge arborescent colonies of Primnoa resedaeformis (height to 2 m) and the delicate, plumate Gorgonaria of the genus Plumarella, such as P. longispina (height to 0.5 m). Red coral is an object of commerce, being used for various ornaments.