Fautin, Daphne G. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
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A subclass of Anthozoa consisting of colonial cnidarians. Members of the subclass Octocorallia (Alcyonaria) are benthic as adults, living attached to firm substrata or burrowed into soft sediments, from the intertidal zone to great depths. As in all anthozoans, the adult form is a polyp—a cylindrical organism that has, at its free end, the single body opening, the mouth, which is surrounded by eight tentacles. These cnidarians are colonial (Fig. 1), with a few possible exceptions. See also: Anthozoa; Cnidaria
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