Overview

Comprehensive Description

This species is one of the few Corallimorph cnidarians found in our area, and the only one in Kozloff's key. Corallimorphs are not true anemones. The most obvious difference is that their tentacles end in knobs (club-tipped tentacles), as are visible in the picture above. The tentacles are not fully retractile, and are usually white. Corallimorphs are also very similar to corals in some other characters, but lack the hard coral skeleton. This species is often found in groups, with individuals up to 2 cm long or even more (photo) (average height and diameter is 1 cm). May be colored red, crimson, pink, purple, pale blue, lavender, brown, orange, buff, or nearly white.
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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Biology/Natural History: The knobbed tentacles contain very large cnidae, easy to view under the microscope. Undischarged cnidae have osmotic pressures up to 140 atmospheres. Has been observed in the lab to defend against attack by Anthopleura elegantissima by extending its cnidae-rich mesenteries through the mouth. This species reproduces asexually by longitudinal fission. Clones are all the same color. Feeds on copepods, nauplius larvae, and other small animals.

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Biology: Nematocysts

More info
LocationImageCnidae TypeRange of
Lengths (m)
Range of
Widths (m)
nNState
Hand C. H., 1955
Actinopharynx
holotrichs  30.5 - 55  x  9 - 12.5  86 / Unfired
microbasic b-mastigophores  25 - 41.5  x  3.5 - 5  79 / Unfired
Column
holotrichs  32.5 - 61  x  9 - 15.5  86 / Unfired
microbasic b-mastigophores  12 - 24.5  x  3.5 - 5  88 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  15.5 - 25  x  6 - 7.5  74 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  30.5 - 59  x  8 - 10.5  90 / Unfired
spirocysts  16 - 35  x  3 - 4.5  81 / Unfired
Filaments
holotrichs  56 - 102  x  18.5 - 46  83 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  19 - 31  x  5 - 9  85 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  39 - 58.5  x  8 - 15  92 / Unfired
Tentacles
holotrichs  46 - 92  x  12.5 - 25  91 / Unfired
microbasic b-mastigophores  33 - 58.5  x  3.5 - 7.5  95 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  29 - 47  x  5 - 7.5  73 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  45.5 - 84  x  4.5 - 6.5  87 / Unfired
spirocysts  17 - 65  x  2 - 5  84 / Unfired
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Distribution

West coast of North America, ranging from Washington state to Baja California.

Biogeographic Regions: pacific ocean (Native )

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Geographical Range: This species is said to be common in some areas of southern California but I have not often encountered it. It occurs from British Columbia to San Martin Island, Baja California but is rarely found intertidally north of California.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; radial symmetry

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Type Information

Syntype for Corynactis californica Carlgren, 1936
Catalog Number: USNM 43064
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Alcohol (Ethanol)
Collector(s): Pacific Biological Laboratory, California
Year Collected: 1934
Locality: Monterey Bay, California, United States, North Pacific Ocean
  • Syntype:
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Syntype for Corynactis californica Carlgren, 1936
Catalog Number: USNM 43060
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Alcohol (Ethanol)
Collector(s): Pacific Biological Laboratory, California
Year Collected: 1934
Locality: Monterey Bay, California, United States, North Pacific Ocean
  • Syntype:
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Look Alikes

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: There are no other anemone-like species in our area with club-tipped tentacles. The orange cup coral Balanophyllia elegans is of similar size and often similar color (photo) but has a hard skeleton and does not have club-tipped tentacles.
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Ecology

Habitat

Corynactus californica are found in abundance on temperate rocky shores and on tropical coral reefs. They can be found anywhere from the lower intertidal zone to at least 50 meters in depth.

Aquatic Biomes: reef ; coastal

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shelf
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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Depth range based on 13 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 3 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 1300
  Temperature range (°C): 10.151 - 15.249
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.733 - 6.725
  Salinity (PPS): 31.893 - 33.476
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.880 - 6.561
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.419 - 0.943
  Silicate (umol/l): 3.287 - 15.658

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 1300

Temperature range (°C): 10.151 - 15.249

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.733 - 6.725

Salinity (PPS): 31.893 - 33.476

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.880 - 6.561

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.419 - 0.943

Silicate (umol/l): 3.287 - 15.658
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth Range: Intertidal to 30 m

Habitat: Rocky shores (under rock ledges), concrete wharf pilings, plastic foam floats. Especially where there are strong currents.

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Trophic Strategy

Corynactus californica extrudes mesenterial filaments onto its prey, which includes brine shrimp, other sessile organisms living within its community, and pieces of dead fish. The mesenterial filaments are used for digestion and absorption of food in the coelenteron. If the prey is too large to take into the coelenteron, the mesenterial filaments are used to digest it externally.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

All C. californica reproduce asexually by fission and budding. Aggregations of different colors produce polyps of the same color; color of the species appears to be controlled genetically.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Corynactis californica

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACGGCTTTT---AGTGTGTTAATAAGATTGGAGCTTTCTGCCCCGGGGGCTATGTTAGGAGAC---GATCATCTTTATAATGTAGTTGTTACTGCACATGCTTTTGTTATGATTTTTTTCTTGGTTATGCCAGTAATGATAGGGGGGTTTGGAAATTGGTTAGTGCCATTA---TATATTGGCGCACCCGATATGGCCTTCCCACGACTTAATAATATTAGTTTTTGGTTATTGCCCCCTGCTTTAATATTATTATTAGGGTCTGCCTTTGTTGAACAAGGAGTTGGCACAGGATGAACGGTTTATCCCCCTTTGTCCAATATTCAAGCACATTCCGGGGGAGCGGTGGATATG---GCTATTTTTAGCCTCCATTTAGCTGGGGCGTCTTCAATATTGGGGGCGATAAATTTTATAACAACTATATTTAATATGAGGGCCCCAGGAGTGACGTTGGATAGAATGCCGCTATTTGTGTGGTCTATATTAATCACTGCTATTTTATTATTATTGTCTTTACCAGTATTAGCTGGG---GGTATAACGATGCTTTTGACGGATAGGAATTTTAATACGACTTTTTTTGATCCTGCAGGAGGGGGGGACCCTATTTTATTTCAGCAT
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Corynactis californica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Genomic DNA is available from 9 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Florida Museum of Natural History and Museum of Tropical Queensland
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Source: Ocean Genome Resource

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Competition from this species may reduce the diversity of the marine communities in which they dwell.

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Presence of aggregations of C. californica increase the density of rock oysters and mussels by protecting them from predatory sea stars.

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Wikipedia

Corynactis californica

Corynactis californica is a bright red colonial anthozoan similar to sea anemones and scleractinian stony corals. Unlike the Atlantic true sea anemone, Actinia fragacea, that bears the same common name, strawberry anemone, this species is a colonial animal of the order Corallimorpharia. Other common names include club-tipped anemone and strawberry corallimorpharian. The anemone is known to carpet the bottom of some areas, like Campbell River in British Columbia, and Monterey Bay in California.

The strawberry anemone grows no larger than 2.5 centimeters. The anemone is always bright red with transparent to white tentacles that are bulbous at the tips. The strawberry anemone resembles sea anemones in that they lack a calcareous skeleton, but are closer related to stony corals in that they lack basilar muscles.

The strawberry anemone is found in water deeper than ten feet and may not be visible in intertidal pools. When held and raised in captivity, the strawberry anemone may be fed on tiny crustaceans including brine shrimp. Aquarium hobbyists integrating Corynactis californica into live coral settings provide hard stubstrates for colonial expansion, since this species kills coral and anemones when competing for resources. Like most cnidarians, the strawberry anemone can replicate both asexually (cloning) and sexually through polyp dispersion.

Live examples of Corynactis californica can be viewed in many Pacific aquariums including the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Diergaarde Blijdorp.

References[edit]

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