Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology: Nematocysts

More info
LocationImageCnidae TypeRange of
Lengths (m)
Range of
Widths (m)
nNState
Carlgren O., 1952
Actinopharynx
N/A basitrichs  19.7 - 33  x  3 - 4  / Unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  19 - 26.8  x  4.2 - 5.5  / Unfired
Column
N/A atrichs  42.5 - 90  (94.5) x  3.5 - 7  / Unfired
N/A basitrichs  14 - 19.7  (22.6) x  2.5 - 2.8  / Unfired
Filaments
N/A basitrichs  25.4 - 43.7  x  4.2 - 7  / Unfired
N/A basitrichs  12.3 - 33.6  x  1.5 - 2.8  / Unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  15.5 - 29.6  x  3 - 5.6  / Unfired
Tentacles
N/A basitrichs  15.5 - 25.4  x  2.2 - 2.8  / Unfired
Hand C. H., 1955
Acrorhagi
atrichous isorhizas [atrichs]  36 - 96  x  3 - 4  71 / Unfired
atrichous isorhizas [atrichs]  55 - 94  x  5 - 6.5  86 / Unfired
basitrichs  10.5 - 23  x  1.5 - 2  54 / Unfired
spirocysts  16 - 35  x  2 - 3  57 / Unfired
Actinopharynx
basitrichs  12.5 - 28  x  3.5 - 4.5  63 / Unfired
basitrichs  15.5 - 32.5  x  2 - 3  56 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  18 - 29  x  3.5 - 5  59 / Unfired
Column
atrichous isorhizas [atrichs]  13.5 - 19.5  x  3.5 - 4.5  47 / Unfired
basitrichs  10.5 - 21.5  x  1.5 - 2  62 / Unfired
Filaments
basitrichs  9 - 18.5  x  1.5 - 2  67 / Unfired
basitrichs  25 - 39  x  3.5 - 6  71 / Unfired
basitrichs  27 - 48  x  0.5 - 1.5  55 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  18.5 - 47.5  x  3.5 - 4.5  73 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  11 - 27  x  2 - 4.5  64 / Unfired
Tentacles
basitrichs  14 - 24.5  x  2 - 3  62 / Unfired
spirocysts  9 - 29  x  1.5 - 3  54 / Unfired
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Biology/Natural History: Background color is due in part to zooxanthellae and zoochlorellae living symbiotically in the gastrodermal layer. (see below photo) Both are able to live in the anemone at the same time. They are able to transfer carbon to their host, the anemone. Its possible that the anemone can control the numbers of algal cells that it has by expelling them in a bolus of mucus. The species can handle a high range of temperatures, but the higher temperatures do affect the number of symbiotic algae. Tend to eat barnacle molts, dead debris from plankton, and mussels that have fallen off the overhead rocks. Anemones of this species frequently divide asexually by expanding the base of their column in two directions until they tear in half (picture). Large clusters, or aggregations, of clonally related anemones come to dominate areas of the intertidal in this way (picture). The aggregating anemones have an aggressive behavior towards other anemones that are not clones of themselves, (see photo below) and maintain anemone-free areas between clones (photo). They do sexually reproduce to disperse to new habitats. The verrucae frequently are holding bits of shell or gravel (picture) which is thought to provide some protection from ultraviolet light and/or reduce desiccation. Predators include the seastar Dermasterias imbricata, the nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa, and the wentletrap snail Epitonium tinctum.

Asexual division is especially common in January to March (Hand, 1955)

This anemone may harbor either zooxanthellae (dinoflagellate) or zoochlorellae (chlorophyte) intracellular symbionts. In California, the zooxanthellae may be either Symbiodinium californium or S. muscatinei. In Oregon and Washington the only zooxanthellae symbionts are S. muscatinei. Anemones with zooxanthellae have been observed from Baja California to SE Alaska, but are more common from Washington south. Anemones with zoochlorellae occur from Cape Blanco, Oregon north at least to Vancouver Island. The zoochlorella has recently been placed in Class Trebouxiophyceae. In areas where both symbionts occur, anemones with zooxanthellae can be found throughout the intertidal but favor the upper levels, while anemones with zoochlorellae are primarily found in the lower intertidal or in shaded areas.

Anthopleura elegantissima contains these types of cnidae: Spirocysts, atrichs, basitrichs, and microbasic p-mastigophores.

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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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: Aggregating individuals can be up to 6 cm high on their column and 8 cm wide. Solitary individuals, (now called A. sola) can be larger than those, up to 25 cm wide. Cylindrical. The column is pale gray-green to white and twice as long as wide when completely extended; pale, variously colored tentacles with pink, lavender, or blue tips, in 5 rings around oral disk and are numerous, thick, and pointed. This species has a ring of white knobs, called acrorhagia, just outside their ring of tentacles. The acrorhagia are loaded with stinging cells and are used for fighting other anemones (picture). The column is covered with vertical rows of adhesive tubercles called verrucae (picture). One can distinguish from A. xanthogrammica by A. elegantissima's smaller size, their branched verrucae, which are in rows in this species, by their colored tentacles, and by the stripes on the oral disk, plus A. xanthogrammica does not live in clonal aggregations (though individuals may be quite close together).
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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Distribution

Geographical Range: From Alaska all the way down to Baja California.

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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Physical Description

Look Alikes

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: : It is similar to Anthopleura xanthogrammica, which is all green. A. elegantissima almost always have pinkish tips on their tentacles, and in the Pacific Northwest are usually a bit smaller in size. Anthopleura artemisia has verrucae on only the top 2/3 of its column and usually lives mostly buried in sand. Anthopleura sola, which was formerly known as the solitary form of A. elegantissima, is very similar except that it is solitary and usually larger. It was distinguished from A. elegantissima by molecular means.
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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 75 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 61 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 4
  Temperature range (°C): 9.481 - 16.316
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.240 - 6.931
  Salinity (PPS): 31.692 - 33.496
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.685 - 6.656
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.330 - 1.030
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 18.436

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 4

Temperature range (°C): 9.481 - 16.316

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.240 - 6.931

Salinity (PPS): 31.692 - 33.496

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.685 - 6.656

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.330 - 1.030

Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 18.436
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth Range: Live in the intertidal zone.

Habitat: Can be found either in dense populations or solitary, on rock walls, boulders, or pilings from between high- and low-tide lines to low-tide line. Prefers to live in semiprotected areas near the outer coast.

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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Associations

Known prey organisms

Anthopleura elegantissima preys on:
non-insect arthropods
Actinopterygii
marine invertebrates
Crustacea

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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© SPIRE project

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Anthopleura elegantissima

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 16
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data: Anthopleura elegantissima

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


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Aggregating anemone

Anthopleura elegantissima, also known as the aggregating anemone or clonal anemone, is the most abundant species of sea anemone found on rocky, tide swept shores along the Pacific coast of North America.[1] This cnidarian hosts endosymbiotic algae called zooxanthellae that contribute substantially to primary productivity in the intertidal zone.[2] A. elegantissima has become a model organism for the study of temperate cnidarian-algal symbioses.

Description[edit]

Anthopleura elegantissima in the process of cloning itself

The polyps of Anthopleura elegantissima reach up to eight cm across the oral disk with approximately 100 tentacles in three or four rows around the margins of the oral disk. Most are olive to bright green (depending on the species of algal symbionts present) with tentacles tipped in pink. Individuals that live in microhabitats that are deficient in photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), such as under docks or in caves, lack symbionts and are pale yellow to white in color.[3]

Range[edit]

Pacific coast of North America from Alaska, United States to Baja California, Mexico.

Life history[edit]

This species of anemone is capable of reproducing both sexually and asexually. As adults, A. elegantissima release gametes into the water that join to form genetically unique individuals that settle on intertidal rock. This genetically distinct individual can then proliferate through binary fission. Some argue that this is not true reproduction but actually a form of growth.[4] Fission is often prompted in the autumn by a decrease in the abundance of food and follows sexual spawning in summer.[5][6] Over time, a single individual can generate a large colony of genetically identical polyps. Because of its ability to grow in this manner, the genetic entity of a colony is potentially immortal on an ecological time scale.

Natural history[edit]

Photosynthetic symbiosis[edit]

Anthopleura elegantissima hosts endosymbiotic, photosynthetic algae in the tentacles, oral disk and column of the polyps. In addition to a chlorophyte, two species of dinoflagellate Symbiodinium, S. muscatinei and S. californium are known to inhabit the anemone.[7] These algae are generally referred to as zooxanthellae (dinoflagellates) and zoochlorellae (chlorophytes) and many polyps concurrently host more than one type of alga within their tissues. The rate of occurrence of each alga is determined by temperature and light regimes of anemone habitats.[8] Zoochlorellae are typically found at higher latitudes and in deeper intertidal habitats than zooxanthellae.[9] Of the two species of zooxanthellae that inhabit the anemone, S. californium is restricted to southern California due to its intolerance of cold temperatures whereas S. muscatinei is tolerant of a broad range of temperature and irradiance levels.

Mycosporine-2-glycine, a mycosporine-like amino acid (MAA)

The mutualistic relationship of these organisms requires adaptations of each partner. The algal symbionts convert inorganic carbon into carbohydrates for use by each partner and release oxygen to the animal host in the process. To accommodate the algae, the anemone must provide concentrated carbon dioxide to their intracellular photosynthetic guests as well as photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) to fuel the photosynthetic process. This restricts the symbiotic organism to euphotic habitats and requires consistent exposure to high levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR). To protect from potentially damaging UVR, the algae provide mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) that act as sunscreen for themselves and the host.[10] The anemones, in turn, produce antioxidants called superoxide dismutases to protect against reactive oxygen that causes oxidative stress.[11][12]

Agonism between colonies[edit]

Territorial battle between anemones

Anthopleura elegantissima is agonistic toward other individuals with different genetic disposition. When one colony of genetically identical polyps encounters a different genetic colony, the two will wage territorial battles. A. elegantissima has specialized tentacles called acrorhagi that are used solely to deter other colonies from encroaching on their space. When a polyp makes physical contact with a non-clonemate, it extends the acrorhagi to attack the competing anemone with stinging cells called nematocytes. Acrorhagi of the attacking anemone leave behind a 'peel' of the ectoderm and nematocysts that causes tissue necrosis in the receiving animal.

A study of two colonies on a boulder removed from the shore and brought into a laboratory revealed that hostilities between neighboring colonies follow the tides. As water rushed into the tank, warrior polyps inflated their acrorhagi, tripled their body length and began reaching into an empty swath of rock between the colonies. Occasionally, a polyp from one of the colonies would move into the spatial zone between the two colonies, acting as a scout, and would be attacked by the warrior polyps of the other clone. If the scout polyp received enough stings, it would be attacked by its clonemates upon return to its own colony. The return of an attacked scout to the clone with acrorhagial peel may serve to communicate the presence and identity of neighboring clones to the interior of the colony.[13]

Predators[edit]

The few known predators of Anthopleura elegantissima include the nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa, leather star Dermasterias imbricata and mosshead sculpin Clinocottus globiceps.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Kozloff, Eugene N.. Marine Invertebrates of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996.
  2. ^ Fitt, W. K., R. L. Pardy, AND M. M. Luttker. 1982. Photosynthesis, respiration, and contribution to community productivity of the symbiotic sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 61: 213–232.
  3. ^ Secord D, Muller-Parker G (2005) Symbiont distribution along a light gradient within an intertidal cave. Limnology and Oceanography 50: 272-278
  4. ^ Pearse, J.S., Pearse, V.B. & Newberry, A.T. 1989. Telling sex from growth: dissolving Maynard Smith's paradox. Bulletin of Marine Science. 45:433-436.
  5. ^ Sebens, K.B. 1980. The regulation of asexual reproduction and indeterminate body size in the sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt). Biological Bulletin. 158:370-382
  6. ^ Sebens, K.B. 1981b. Reproductive ecology of the intertidal sea anemones Anthopleura xanthogrammica (Brandt) and Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt): body size, habitat, and sexual reproduction. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 54:225-250.
  7. ^ Muller-Parker G, Pierce-Cravens J, Bingham BL (2007) Broad thermal tolerance of the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium muscatinei (Dinophyta) in the sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima (Cnidaria) from northern latitudes. Journal of Phycology 43:25-31
  8. ^ SAUNDERS, B., AND G. MULLER-PARKER. 1997. The effects of temperature and light on two algal populations in the temperate sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt, 1835). J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 211: 213–224.
  9. ^ Secord D, Augustine L (2000) Biogeography and microhabitat variation in temperate algal-invertebrate symbioses: zooxanthellae and zoochlorellae in two Pacific intertidal sea anemones, Anthopleura elegantissima and A. xanthogrammica. Invertebrate Biology 119:139-146
  10. ^ Shick, J. M., W. C. Dunlap, J. S. Pearse, and V. B. Pearse. 2002. Mycosporine-like amino acid content in four species of sea anemones in the genus Anthopleura reflects phylogenetic but not environmental or symbiotic relationships. Biol. Bull. 203: 315–330.
  11. ^ Dykens, J. A. and J. M. Shick. 1982. Oxygen production by endosymbiotic algae controls superoxide dismutase activity in their animal host. Nature 297:579–580.
  12. ^ Dykens, J. A., J. M. Shick, C. Benoit, G. R. Buettner, and G. W. Winston. 1992. Oxygen radical production in the sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima and its endosymbiotic algae. J. Exp. Biol. 168:219–41.
  13. ^ Ayre DJ, Grosberg RK (2005) Behind anemone lines: factors affecting division of labour in the social cnidarian Anthopleura elegantissima. Animal Behaviour 70:97-110
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