Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

 Colonies are stout and fleshy and up to 40 cm long. The seapen is composed of a basal peduncle embedded in the substratum, from which arise leaf-like branches. Fused polyps form large triangular 'leaves' in alternate opposing lateral rows. The back of the peduncle is covered in inhalent polyps (siphonozooids). The flesh is translucent, yellowish or pale pink with white polyps. The colony may also be a deep reddish-pink owing to the presence of red skeletal plates in the tissue. The central axis of the colony is often bent-over at the tip like a shepherds crook.Pennatula phosphorea luminesces in a blue/green colour when stimulated. The luminous waves proceed in either direction, with a measurable velocity, to the extremities of the animal. Light is emitted by the polyps, which are believed to be connected by a nerve net. There is a gradual increase in light intensity with increasing number of disturbances as a result of facilitation (Nicol, 1958). Pennatula phosphorea contracts when disturbed, and swells by up-taking water when unperturbed (Nicol, 1958). It is also capable of withdrawing into a tube below the mud surface (Mackie, 1998).  Extracts from this species have been found to show narcotic and anorectic properties, acting as feeding deterrents for the octocoral's main predator the Dover sole, Solea solea (Mackie, 1998). They have stinging organelles like most sea anemones and all cnidarians, which are contained in polyps along the branches off the long peduncle.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

This sea pen forms stout, red colonies shaped like a fleshy feather. Small white polyps grow in rows on lateral 'leaves'. Up to 250mm long, usually about 100-150mm. Can luminesce in darkness when disturbed. The three Sea-pens are very distinctive and are unlikely to cause confusion.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© National Museums Northern Ireland and its licensors

Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

cosmopolitan
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Probably on most coasts of the British Isles, but rather local. Only encountered by recent diving surveys in western Scotland. Generally distributed around western Europe. More information on habitat and occurrence in Britain would be welcomed.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© National Museums Northern Ireland and its licensors

Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 49 specimens in 3 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 39 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 3516
  Temperature range (°C): 1.777 - 13.155
  Nitrate (umol/L): 3.321 - 44.123
  Salinity (PPS): 34.560 - 38.597
  Oxygen (ml/l): 0.472 - 6.443
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.353 - 3.639
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.172 - 173.464

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 3516

Temperature range (°C): 1.777 - 13.155

Nitrate (umol/L): 3.321 - 44.123

Salinity (PPS): 34.560 - 38.597

Oxygen (ml/l): 0.472 - 6.443

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.353 - 3.639

Silicate (umol/l): 2.172 - 173.464
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

 Found in sandy and muddy substrata at depths of 10m-100 m.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Lives with the fleshy stalk embedded in mud, sand or gravel. Always off-shore in depths greater than 10m.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© National Museums Northern Ireland and its licensors

Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Average rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!