sea whip, erect colony of marine animals of the phylum Cnidaria, with whiplike branches. The skeleton consists of a horny axis, overlaid with small calcareous bodies called spicules. Often beautifully colored, sea whips and the closely related sea fans and sea feathers add to the beauty of tropical or subtropical shallow-water marine communities. Sea whips are classified in the phylum Cnidaria, class Anthozoa, order Gorgonacea.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.