Mushroom soft coral

Natural History

This animal takes on two very different shapes. When closed up tight, it looks like a mushroom. But with tentacles outstretched to feed, it looks more like a flower. So how does a mushroom coral catch its meals? Those showy tentacles contain poisonous stinging cells that capture tiny animals drifting by.

The Aquarium has raised mushroom soft coral throughout its entire lifecycle so we can populate our exhibits from home grown animals.


Anything that finds its way into the ocean, whether it's tossed away as trash, washes off a beach or falls off a boat, may eventually make its way to the deep sea. It's important to realize that the deep sea is not so far away that it's beyond the reach of human activities. Living creatures in the deep are affected by what we do at the surface.

Cool Facts

Catsharks sometimes lay their egg cases on a mushroom coral's stalks.