Leptogorgia sarmentosa Gorgonian is quite common in the Mediterranean Sea, we often meet it during our dives, but not in the area where we explored in this video. On this seabed there are not many gorgonians, despite being the classic coralligenous bottom there is very common the red coral, Corallium rubrum, which is slowly repopulating rocks that were once full of this species and that the corallaries have “fished” almost to extinction; however the gorgonians have never been there except for some rare exception of small branches of the Eunicella cavolinii.
But moving away from the vertical wall for a few meters we find in the sand a beautiful gorgonian Leptogorgia sarmentosa about one and a half meters high and certainly more than two and a half meters wide. It is therefore a very old and uncommon colony to encounter. especially in an area where the trawlers of trawlers frequently pass.
Imagine the effect of the passage of a net with all chains, weights, the ropes and the diverging on a specimen of this size. However, it is a specimen that is probably being saved thanks to its proximity to a submerged reef and a massif rock about 4/5 meters high on a depth of 43 meters, where the fishermen could not trawl being less than 50 meters.
Arborescent gorgonian with a spongy consistency, white to red in color, commonly orange. The branches are rather thin, especially in the terminal part. The polyps are white, about 1 – 1.5 millimeters. The colony can reach up to one meter in height.
The various colonies grow isolated from their peers. It feeds on zooplankton, filtering it thanks to the action of the current.
Distribution and habitat
Mediterranean Sea, Eastern Atlantic Ocean, in turbid waters, rich in nourishment, exposed to the current on muddy bottoms or on coralligenous, between 20 and 300 meters deep.