Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology: Nematocysts

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LocationImageCnidae TypeRange of
Lengths (m)
Range of
Widths (m)
nNState
Carlgren O., 1945
Actinopharynx
N/A basitrichs (19.7)  24 - 27.5  x  2.8 - 3.5  /
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  16.9 - 18.3  x  3 - 3.5  /
Column
N/A basitrichs  16.9 - 19.5  x  2.8 - 3  /
Filaments
N/A basitrichs  12.7 - 16.9  x   - 2.5  /
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  15.5 - 18.3  x  2.8 - 4  /
Tentacles
N/A basitrichs  21.1 - 28.2  x  2.5 - 3  /
N/A spirocysts   - 28.2  x   - 3.5  /
Carlgren O., 1952
Actinopharynx
N/A basitrichs  25.4 - 29.6  (35) x  3.5 -   / Unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  17 - 22  x  4 - 5  / Unfired
Column
N/A basitrichs  15.5 - 21  x  2.5 - 2.8  / Unfired
Filaments
N/A basitrichs  17 - 19.7  x  2.8 -   / Unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  15.5 - 19.7  x  4.2 - 5  / Unfired
Tentacles
N/A basitrichs  26 - 32.4  x  2.8 - 3.5  / Unfired
Fautin D. G. and Chia F. S., 1986
Actinopharynx
N/A basitrichs  28 - 34  x  3.2 - 4.5  27 4 / 4 unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  19 - 25  (27) x  4.5 - 6  15 3 / 4 unfired
Column
N/A basitrichs  15 - 23  (27) x  2.5 - 3.8  (4.5) 57 7 / 7 unfired
N/A holotrichs  28 - 30  x  3.8 -   2 1 / 7 unfired
Filaments
N/A basitrichs  13 - 18  x  2 - 3  27 5 / 6 unfired
N/A basitrichs (17)  18 - 27  x  2.5 - 3.8  (4.7) 14 4 / 6 unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  15 - 23  x  3.8 - 5.5  37 6 / 6 unfired
Tentacles
N/A basitrichs  13 - 15  x  2 - 2.5  6 3 / 9 unfired
N/A basitrichs (20)  25 - 35  x  2.7 - 4.2  66 9 / 9 unfired
N/A holotrichs  23 - 30  x  3.2 - 4.5  27 5 / 9 unfired
N/A spirocysts  16 - 40  x  2.5 - 5  65 9 / 9 unfired
Hand C. H., 1955
Actinopharynx
basitrichs  20 - 34  x  2 - 3  57 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  15.5 - 23  x  4.5 - 5  63 / Unfired
Column
basitrichs  11 - 23  x  2 - 3  57 / Unfired
spirocysts  15.5 - 33.5  x  2 - 4  58 / Unfired
Filaments
basitrichs  11 - 31  x  2 - 3  70 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  17 - 28  x  3.5 - 4.5  55 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  16 - 24  x  3.5 - 5  58 / Unfired
Tentacles
basitrichs  19.5 - 30.5  x  2 - 3  72 / Unfired
spirocysts  13 - 33.5  x  2 - 4  64 / Unfired
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© Hexacorallians of the World

Source: Hexacorallians of the World

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Biology/Natural History: The tentacles of this species end with a terminal pore. Many individuals have tiny juvenile anemones attached near the base. Animals' sexual pattern is gynodioecious (small adults are female, larger adults are simultaneous hermaphrodites), cross-fertilize though some self-fertilization also occurs. Eggs are fertilized inside female gastrovascular cavity, then are expelled. Cilia on the mother's surface move the eggs (or larvae?) down to small pits on the edges of the pedal disk where they attach via mucus and specialized large nematocysts in the mother's tissue. Live on mother's column (digesting yolk, then catching prey) until at least 3 months old and 4 mm diameter, then crawl off. Probably feed on small crustaceans. Predators include nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa and leather star Dermasterias imbricata. Mosshead sculpins may also eat them. Animals move freely about, often pack the bottoms of tidepools, and may be covered with camouflaging debris. Flora and Fairbanks stated they tasted this species' foot fried in butter and do not recommend it even for the desperate.

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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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This anemone has no acontia, column has no tubercles and no adherent material. The oral disk often has narrow radiating white lines which originate near the mouth. The column color is greenish, reddish, or brownish. The edges of the pedal disk and the lower column commonly have radiating dark and light lines, but these lines do not extend more than halfway up the column. Commonly found externally brooding young of various sizes and year-round. Size up to 5 cm diameter, usually less, height usually under 3 cm. Base is often about twice the diameter of the column. May be brown, green, orange, blue, gray, solid or blotched. May have brownish-red or dark green stripes on column. Sometimes the lower column and pedal disk are blue (photo).
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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Distribution

Geographical Range: Southern Alaska to southern California

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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Physical Description

Look Alikes

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Epiactis ritteri has broad radiating white lines on the oral disk which do not reach the mouth, breeds young internally, and becomes extremely flat when contracted. E. lisbethae can be up to 8 cm diameter and the radiating dark lines on the edges of the pedal disk extend all the way up to the top of the column. Small individuals which are closed can look similar to E. fernaldi (photo), but look for tiny young of all the same size being brooded on the column (these are of several different sizes when found on E. prolifera and only seasonally).
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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 41 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 23 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 5
  Temperature range (°C): 9.967 - 15.249
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.633 - 7.622
  Salinity (PPS): 31.538 - 33.476
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.875 - 6.616
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.411 - 0.974
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.942 - 16.001

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 5

Temperature range (°C): 9.967 - 15.249

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.633 - 7.622

Salinity (PPS): 31.538 - 33.476

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.875 - 6.616

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.411 - 0.974

Silicate (umol/l): 2.942 - 16.001
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth Range: Mid intertidal to subtidal

Habitat: On and under rocks and on algae and eelgrass, outer rocky coasts and in bays.

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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Epiactis prolifera is a gynodioecious species, meaning that individuals sexually mature as female, later adding male gonads to become hermaphrodites (Dunn 1975a). Size at sexual maturity is variable but female gonads were recorded to appear between basal diameters of 5.8mm and 15mm, and male gonads appeared after a minimum diameter of 8.0mm (Dunn 1975b). Eggs are fertilized either by self-fertilization (Bucklin, Hedgecock et al. 1984) or outcrossing. During spawning, a mass of eggs and mucus are released from the mouth onto the oral disk, eventually making its way to the column, where some eggs become attached (Dunn 1975b). The offspring then develop on the column, bypassing the free-swimming planula stage that facilitates dispersal in other Actinians. Offspring that are brooded for less than 3 months and do not reach a minimum of 4mm basal diameter apparently cannot survive independently in the intertidal environment (Dunn 1977).


Reproduction is continuous throughout the year, though appears to fluctuate roughly inversely with sea water temperature(Dunn 1977). The continuous nature of E. prolifera reproduction is evident when examining the variability in size of concurrently brooded offspring.

  • Bucklin, A., D. Hedgecock, et al. (1984). "Genetic evidence of self-fertilization in the sea anemone Epiactis prolifera." Marine Biology 84(2): 175-182.
  • Dunn, D. F. (1975a). "Gynodioecy in an animal." Nature 253(5492): 528-529.
  • Dunn, D. F. (1975b). "Reproduction of the Externally Brooding Sea Anemone Epiactis prolifera Verrill, 1869." Biological Bulletin 148(2): 199-218.
  • Dunn, D. F. (1977). "Dynamics of external brooding in the sea anemone Epictis Epiactis prolifera." Marine Biology 39(1):
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Epiactis prolifera

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Epiactis prolifera

Epiactis prolifera, the brooding, proliferating or small green anemone, is a species of marine invertebrate in the family Actiniidae.[1] It is found in the north-eastern Pacific. It has a feature rare among animals in that all individuals start life as females but develop testes later in their lives to become hermaphrodites.[2]

Description[edit]

The brooding anemone grows to three centimetres high and up to five centimetres in diameter and varies in colour, usually being greenish-brown but sometimes brown, pink, red or dull green. There are fine white lines starting at the mouth and spreading radially across the oral disc and further white lines occur on the column and pedal disc.[3][4] The lower part of the column and pedal disc are occasionally blue.[3] There are often radiating pale and dark lines on the edges of the pedal disc and the lower part of the column. The mouth is surrounded by 48 to 96 short, conical tentacles each tipped with a terminal pore.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The brooding anemone is found in shallow areas of the north-east Pacific Ocean. The highest density is on or under rocks in the sublittoral zone, in surge channels, on rock shelves and areas exposed to wave action. It is often found in areas encrusted with coralline algae and sometimes grows on the leaves of eelgrass.[4] It cannot tolerate exposure to the drying air and sunlight.[4] The brooding anemone moves around over the substrate to a greater extent than do other anemones.[5]

Biology[edit]

Epiactis prolifera is a protogynic hermaphrodite. The young all start life as females but when the pedal disc is about two centimetres in diameter, they develop testes within the mesentery and spend the rest of their lives as hermaphrodites.[6] This means that the population consists of a large number of young females and a small number of older hermaphrodites. Reproduction is not limited to any particular season. Sperm is released into the water column and after cross-fertilisation (or sometimes self-fertilisation), the young remain within the mother's gastrovascular cavity during their early development. The mother then expels a mass of eggs and mucus through her mouth and they spread across her oral disc. Cilia move some of them down the column and they become attached to the base of the column with mucus.[7] The larvae develop tentacles of their own and grow in this protective environment for at least three months.[3] When they reach about four millimetres in diameter, they separate from their mother and move away to live independently.[6][8]

If the anemone is damaged and broken in pieces, the various fragments are each able to grow into a new individual.[4]

The diet consists of small fish, shrimps, crabs and jellyfish. The prey is immobilised by the nematocysts in the tentacles which inject toxins, then passed by the tentacles through the mouth and into the gastrovascular cavity. Any undigested remains are expelled through the mouth.[4]

Ecology[edit]

Despite their stinging nematocysts, brooding anemones are a favoured prey for certain other animals. Many nudibranchs seem to be immune to the toxin and both eat them and can store the unused nematocysts for their own defence. Predators include the nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa, the leather star Dermasterias imbricata[3] and certain fish.

This anemone sometimes displays mutualism by attaching itself to a hermit crab or decorator crab. The anemone provides protection for the host from predators and itself benefits by being able to consume food fragments discarded by the crab.[4]

The copepod, Doridicola sunnivae, is an ectoparasite of the brooding anemone.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fautin, D. (2010). Epiactis prolifera Verrill, 1869. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=283435 on 2011-07-20
  2. ^ Schultze, Stewart T. (1990). The Northwest Coast: A Natural History. Timber Press: Portland.
  3. ^ a b c d Epiactis prolifera
  4. ^ a b c d e f RaceRocks.com
  5. ^ a b Intertidal Invertebrates of the Monterey Bay Area, California
  6. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Life
  7. ^ Dunn, D. F. (1975). "Reproduction of the Externally Brooding Sea Anemone Epiactis prolifera Verrill, 1869." Biological Bulletin 148(2): 199-218.
  8. ^ Morris, R. H., D. P. Abbot and E. C. Harderlie. (1980). Intertidal Invertebrates of California. Stanford University Press: Stanford
  9. ^ World of Copepods
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