|Reproduction Preferences Additional Information||The age of Eunicella verrucosa colonies can be determined (destructively) from growth rings in the axis. There is one growth ring per annum as evidenced by studies that measured growth rate in marked fans and then harvested the sea fans to count growth rings (Keith Hiscock, unpublished studies). Growth rate can be highly variable with an increase in branch length of up to 6 cm in some branches in one year and virtually none in others in Lyme Bay populations (C. Munro, pers. comm.) in one year. About 1 cm per annum increase in branch length was recorded in marked colonies at Lundy corresponding to measures of branch length correlated with number of annual growth rings (Keith Hiscock, unpublished studies, see above).
There is no specific information on reproduction in Eunicella verrucosa but observation of the occurrence of small colonies suggests that production and settlement of larvae is successful in occasional years in south-west Britain. The larvae are most likely lecithotrophic and have a short life. Colonies seem to take some time if ever to colonize wrecks that are distant (>1 km) from existing populations.
For the morphologically similar Paramuricea clavata in the Mediterranean, Coma et al. (1995) described reproduction and the cycle of gonadial development with spawning occurring 3-6 days after full or new moon in summer. Spawned eggs adhered to a mucus coating to female colonies: a feature that would be expected to have been readily observed if it occurred in Eunicella verrucosa. Maturation of planulae took place among the polyps of the parent colony and, on leaving the colony, planulae immediately settled on surrounding substrata. It seems more likely that planulae of Eunicella verrucosa are released immediately from the polyps and are likely to drift.