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The Alcyonacea, or the soft corals are an order of corals which do not produce calcium carbonate skeletons. Soft corals contain minute, spiny skeletal elements called sclerites. Aside from their scientific utility in species identification, sclerites give these corals some degree of support and give their flesh a spiky, grainy texture that deters predators. Recent findings suggest that colonies of sinularia are able to cement sclerites and consolidate them at their base into spiculite, thus making them reef builders. In the past soft coral were thought to be unable to lay new foundations for future corals.