Nearly all the Alcyonaria are colonial.
These are the Alcyonaria and the Zoantharia.
The order Coenothecalia is represented by a single living species, Heliopora coerulea, which differs from all recent Alcyonaria in the fact that its skeleton is not composed of spicules, but is formed as a secretion from a layer of cells called calicoblasts, which originate from the ectoderm.
The arrangement of the muscle-banners on the mesenteries is characteristic. On six of the mesenteries the muscle-banners have the same position as in the Alcyonaria, namely, on the sulcar faces; but in the two remaining mesenteries, namely, those which are attached on either side of the sulcus, the muscle-banners are on the opposite or sulcular faces.
This skeleton is largely composed of a number of radiating plates or septa, and it differs both in origin and structure from the calcareous skeleton of all Alcyonaria except Heliopora.