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Leiopathes glaberrima Smooth Black Coral


Leiopathes glaberrima 
Schwarze Koralle 
Smooth Black Coral 
Sea Fans 
Family tree:
Animalia (Kingdom) > Cnidaria (Phylum) > Anthozoa (Class) > Antipatharia (Order) > Leiopathidae (Family) > Leiopathes (Genus) > glaberrima (Species) 
Initial determination:
(Esper, ), 1792 
Straße von Gibralta, Azores, Canada , East cost of USA, Florida, Greece, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Malta, Morocco, North-West-Atlantic, Portugal, Spain, Subantarctic Isles, The Aegan Sea (Mediterranean), The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Tyrrhenian Sea (Mediterranean Sea), United States Minor Outlying Islands, Venezuela 
Sea depth:
37 - 1753 Meter 
23.62" - 39.37" (60cm - 100cm) 
41 °F - (5°C - 27,5°C) 
Amphipods, azooxanthellat, nonphotosynthetic, Copepods, Invertebrates, Marine snow, Plankton 
Not suitable for aquarium keeping 
Not available as offspring 
Toxic hazard unknown 
Appendix II ((commercial trade possible after a safety assessment by the exporting country)) 
Red List:
Not evaluated (NE) 
Related species at
Catalog of Life:
More related species
in this lexicon:
Last edit:
2021-01-13 18:01:01 


The black coral Leiopathes glaberrima occurs to great depths where it depends on catching zooplankton and marine snow that gets caught in the dense, net-like structures of the coral and is consumed by the polyps.

At these depths, the familiar warmer water surface temperatures are also not present, so we classify this animal as "not suitable for aquarium keeping".
It is perhaps understandable that deep-sea corals of the genus Leiopathes are also characterised by very slow growth.
What probably few people know about black corals from the waters around Malta: In the years 1984 and 1987, between 100 -150 kg of black corals, including Leiopathes glaberrima, were landed from depths of 500 - 600 metres using a destructive technique, mainly to be sold on the German market.

Leiopathes glaberrima occurs in two phenotypes, a white phenotype and a bright orange phenotype.
Some colonies had bright orange polyps, which probably indicates their female fertile status, based on ongoing studies.

On large specimens of this black coral, one or two specimens of the crab Anamathia rissoana were often detected, and rarely groups of an unidentified stalk barnacle species.
Between the larger colonies of L. glaberrima, it was not uncommon to find small colonies of Antipathella subpinnata or the long and pliable unbranched colonies of the gorgonian Viminella flagellum.

The coral forest from which the photo was taken was inhabited by numerous fish species, such as Macroramphosus scolopax (Linnaeus, 1758), Aulopus filamentosus (Bloch, 1792), Capros aper Linnaeus, 1758, Callanthias ruber (Rafinesque, 1810), Scorpaena sp, Helicolenus dactylopterus (Delaroche, 1809), Phycis blennoides (Brünnich, 1768), Zeus faber Linnaeus, 1758, Anthias anthias (Linnaeus, 1758), and the rare grouper Hyporthodus haifensis (Ben Tuvia, 1953), a biodiversity reminiscent of tropical reefs.

Photographs or films of deep-sea corals can only be taken with special underwater vehicles, in these cases with an ROV.



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