Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology/Natural History: A. xanthogrammica is basically a solitary species and can occur in numbers up to 14 per square meter if conditions are favorable. They are vividly green if they are exposed to bright sunlight. The bright green can be attributed to green pigment in the anemone epidermis and to symbiotic algae that live in the tissues that line the gut. Inside there may be zoochorellae (green algae) or zooxanthellae, which are dinoflagellates. The symbiotic algae are reduced in numbers or even absent (aposymbiotic) when in shady areas. The anemones release sperm and eggs in late spring to summer. The larvae swim or float freely, dispersing. The adults do not split in half asexually, as is so characteristic of its congener A. elegantissima. They eat detached mussels, sea urchins, small fish, and crabs. I have also commonly seen them spitting out empty barnacle plates so I suspect they will eat barnacles as well. Mussels seem to be a primary item in the diet. Predators include the seastar Dermasterias imbricata. The sea spider Pycnogonum stearnsi is often found around the base in central California and the large amoeba Trichamoeba schaefferi may be found as well. In southern California the snail Opalia borealis, which feeds by inserting its proboscis into the column, may be on the base and the wentletrap snail Epitonium tinctum may also be found. Epitonium tinctum feeds on the anemone's tentacles at high tide.

Cnidae in this species include Spirocysts, atrichs, basitrichs, and microbasic p-mastigophores.

This is one of the largest species of anemone in the world. Some Antarctic species and tropical anemones on coral reefs grow larger. It does not survive well in areas with sewage or other pollution.

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Biology: Nematocysts

More info
LocationImageCnidae TypeRange of
Lengths (m)
Range of
Widths (m)
nNState
Carlgren O., 1945
Acrorhagi
N/A atrichous isorhizas [atrichs] (50)  55 - 69  x  3.5 - 4  /
N/A atrichs (50)  55 - 69  x  3.5 - 4  / Unfired
Actinopharynx
N/A basitrichs  24 - 31  x  3 - 3.5  /
N/A basitrichs  24 - 31  x  3 - 3.5  / Unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  22.6 - 24  x   - 5.5  /
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  22.6 - 24  x  5.5 -   / Unfired
Column
N/A atrichous isorhizas [atrichs]  22.6 - 28.2  x  4.2 - 5  /
N/A atrichs  22.6 - 28.2  x  4.2 - 5  / Unfired
N/A basitrichs  8.5 - 11.2  x  1.5 - 2  /
N/A basitrichs  15.5 - 22.6  x  2.2 - 2.8  /
N/A basitrichs  15.5 - 22.6  x  2.2 - 2.8  / Unfired
N/A basitrichs  8.5 - 11.2  x  1.5 - 2  / Unfired
Filaments
N/A basitrichs  13 - 14  x   - 2  /
N/A basitrichs   - 38  x   - 5.5  1 /
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  21.1 - 26  x  4.2 - 5.5  /
Tentacles
N/A basitrichs  17.5 - 21.5  x  2.5 - 3.4  /
N/A basitrichs  17.5 - 21.5  x  2.5 - 3.4  / Unfired
N/A spirocysts   -   x   -   /
N/A spirocysts   -   x   -   / Unfired
Carlgren O., 1952
Actinopharynx
N/A basitrichs  21 - 29.6  x  2.8 - 3.5  / Unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  22.6 - 28.2  x  5 - 5.5  / Unfired
Column
N/A atrichs  21 -   x  4.2 -   / Unfired
N/A atrichs  66 - 124  x  2.8 - 5.6  / Unfired
N/A basitrichs  14 - 17  x  2.5 - 2.8  / Unfired
Filaments
N/A basitrichs  39.5 - 49.3  x  5.5 - 7.5  / Unfired
N/A microbasic p-mastigophores  24 - 28.2  x  5 - 5  / Unfired
Tentacles
N/A basitrichs  17 - 26.8  x  2.5 - 2.8  / Unfired
Hand C. H., 1955
Acrorhagi
atrichous isorhizas [atrichs]  65 - 109  x  2 - 4  81 / Unfired
atrichous isorhizas [atrichs]  79 - 128  x  5 - 7  76 / Unfired
basitrichs  9 - 21.5  x  1.5 - 3  62 / Unfired
spirocysts  13.5 - 32  x  1.5 - 2  50 / Unfired
Actinopharynx
basitrichs  16 - 38  x  2 - 4  61 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  20 - 35  x  3.5 - 5  64 / Unfired
Column
atrichous isorhizas [atrichs]  12.5 - 27  x  3.5 - 5  41 / Unfired
basitrichs  10 - 17  x  1.5 - 2  57 / Unfired
Filaments
basitrichs  9.5 - 17.5  x  1.5 - 2  64 / Unfired
basitrichs  24.5 - 42  x  1.5 - 2  73 / Unfired
basitrichs  25 - 49  x  3.5 - 6.5  67 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  12.5 - 38  x  2 - 4  59 / Unfired
microbasic p-mastigophores  20 - 35  x  3.5 - 5  68 / Unfired
Tentacles
basitrichs  18.5 - 26.5  x  2 - 3  57 / Unfired
spirocysts  11 - 25  x  2 - 4  62 / Unfired
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The column can get to 30 cm in diameter and reach 30 cm high. It has compound, irregular tubercles (verrucae) on its column (photo) that are adhesive (often holding sand or bits of shell) and extend all the way to the bottom of the column. The base is only slightly larger than column diameter (photo) and adheres to rocks. The anemone has many tentacles that are short and conical and can be either blunt or pointed. The column is green to dark green and brown, typically all the way to the bottom. Tentacles are green, blue, or white without pink on the tips. No marks or bands. The oral disk is flat and usually green, but can be grayish-blue to greenish-blue (photo). The oral disk typically has no radial stripes or only faint ones.
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Distribution

Geographic Range

Anthopleura xanthogrammica inhabits the low to mid intertidal zones of the Pacific Ocean, ranging continuously from Alaska to Point Conception. It also occurs in areas of cold upwellings possibly as south far as Panama (Smith and Potts,1987).

Biogeographic Regions: pacific ocean (Native )

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Geographical Range: From Alaska to Panama, these anemones flourish in the intertidal and subtidal zones. Only found in a few places with upwelling south of central CA.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

This species of anemone can grow to a column width of 17 cm and a height of 30 cm. The tentacular crown can grow to 25 cm in diameter with numerous tentacles arranged in six or more rows around the margin. The tentacles and column are green but can vary in intensity, ranging from light green in the tentacles to olive green in the column.

Stinging cells called cnidocytes are located within the tentacles. These cells help A. xanthogrammica paralyze its prey, but causes no harm to humans (Giant,1998; Morris,et al.,1992).

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Look Alikes

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: May be confused with A. sola or large A. elegantissima but both of those species have pink tips on tentacles, the oral disk is usually striped, and at least some of the tubercles (verrucae) on the column are usually in distinct lengthwise rows up and down the column (picture in A. sola). Anthopleura artemisia has verrucae on only the top 2/3 of its column and usually lives mostly buried in sand.
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Ecology

Habitat

Sand and rock covered shore lines are prime habitat for A. xanthogrammica. To prevent dessication due to extended periods of time with no water, these anemones will take up residence in the mid to low intertidal where they will be covered with water most of the day.

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Depth range based on 97 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 85 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -2 - 20
  Temperature range (°C): 9.481 - 15.249
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.733 - 7.622
  Salinity (PPS): 31.538 - 33.476
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.880 - 6.656
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.419 - 1.030
  Silicate (umol/l): 3.287 - 18.436

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -2 - 20

Temperature range (°C): 9.481 - 15.249

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.733 - 7.622

Salinity (PPS): 31.538 - 33.476

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.880 - 6.656

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.419 - 1.030

Silicate (umol/l): 3.287 - 18.436
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth Range: Benthic to low and mid intertidal zone, also may be found to 30 m depth.

Habitat: Giant green anemones live on the rocks of tide pools and in deep surge channels on exposed rocky shores. They can also be found on concrete pilings in open bays and harbors. Especially common near mussel beds.

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

The main food sources for A. xanthogrammica are mussels, sea urchins, small fish and crabs. These animals are paralyzed and captured after coming in contact with the anemones stinging tentacles. Once the prey are paralyzed, A. xanthogrammica pulls these animals into its mouth, contained in the center of its crown. When digestion is complete it excretes the waste through the same opening. The epidermis and tissues lining the gut of A. xanthogrammica contain living photosynthetic algae zoochlorellae, and the dinoflagelates zooxanthellae. These symbiotic protists can produce organic nutrients through photosynthesis that may also contribute to the nutritional needs of the anemone. It has been noted that anemones living in caves have reduced numbers of, or are completely lacking natural symbionts (Giant, 1998; Morris,et al.,1992).

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

A. xanthogrammica reproduces sexually through external fertilization of sperm and eggs. Spawning generally occurs in the fall from September to November and will produce pelagic, planktotrophic larvae. These larvae float freely for a period of time until they become widely dispersed. Larvae tend to settle in established mussel beds where they will begin to develop (Smith and Potts,1987).

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Tissues resist bending under stress: giant green anemone
 

Anemones resist bending because of the high stress resistance of the tissues and the distance of those tissues from the axis of bending.

     
  "Flexural stiffness is the ability of a beam-like organism to resist bending. The higher the elastic modulus of the organism's tissues and the greater the distance of those tissues from the axis of bending, the less the organism will bend when loaded." (Koehl 1977:137-138)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Koehl, M. A. R. 1977. Mechanical Organization of Cantileverlike Sessile Organisms: Sea Anemones. J Exp Biol. 69(1): 127-142.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Anthopleura xanthogrammica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 12
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

This species provides no known adverse affects to humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Anthopleura xanthogrammica has been the source of several medical studies. Contained within its tissues, at low concentrations, is a cardiotonic agent that has been associated with favorable stimulatory effects when introduced to the vertebrate heart. Clinical studies have show that this agent is a good candidate in the treatment of a failing heart and has considerable advantages over currently used drugs. There is question as to whether harvesting naturally occuring populations of A. xanthogrammica and A. elegantissima is a feasible way to manufacture this stimulant (Batchelder,1980; Morris,et al.,1992).

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Wikipedia

Anthopleura xanthogrammica

Anthopleura xanthogrammica, or the Giant Green Anemone, is a species of intertidal sea anemone of the family Actiniidae.

Other common names for this anemone include Green Surf Anemone, Giant Green Sea anemone, Green Anemone, Giant Tidepool Anemone, Solitary Anemone, and Rough Anemone. [2]

Physical description[edit]

The column width and height can reach a maximum of 17.5 [3] and 30 cm, respectively.[4] The crown of tentacles can be as wide as 25 cm in diameter,[4] while the column, itself, tends to be widest at the base in order to offer a more stable connection to the rocks.[5]

It has a broad, flat oral disk surface [6] and no striping, banding, or other markings. [5]

Coloration[edit]

If A. xanthogrammica is exposed to proper amounts of sunlight, it can appear bright green[5] when submerged under water.

When not submerged, it appears dark green or brown. This is because the anemone tends to close up and "droop" and its now exposed column is actually dark green and slightly brown, but the hidden tentacles and oral disk are bright green.[3]

Tentacles[edit]

The tentacles, which are short and conical,[3] are arranged in six or more rows surrounding the oral disk[4][7] and can be pointed or blunt at the tips.[5]

Distribution[edit]

Generally, A. xanthogrammica is found along the low to mid intertidal zones of the Pacific Ocean, from Alaska to Southern California and sometimes downwards to Panama, where cold water swells can occur.[4][5][7][8]

Habitat[edit]

A. xanthogrammica prefers to inhabit sandy or rocky shorelines, where water remains for most of the day.[4] They can generally be found in tide pools up to 30 cm deep.[3] Occasionally A. xanthogrammica can also be found in deep channels of more exposed rocky shores and concrete pilings in bays and harbors.[5]

Biology and natural history[edit]

Photosynthetic algae, zoochlorellae, and the dinoflagellates, zooxanthellae, live in the epidermis and tissue of the gut of A. xanthogrammica. In this symbiotic relationship, the zoochlorellae and zooxanthellae provide nutrients to the anemone via photosynthesis and contribute to the bright green color of the anemone's oral disk and tentacles.[4][7] The bright green color is also due to pigmentation.[5]

Anthopleura xanthogrammica anemones living in caves and shady zones have reduced or no natural symbionts and tend to be less colorful.[3][4][5][7]

Behavior[edit]

These anemones tend to live a solitary life, with no more than 14 individuals per square meter.[4][5][7] They can move slowly using their basal disks, but usually stay sessile.[4][7] Like other anemones, A. xanthogrammica can use stinging cells located in the tentacles as protection from predators and a mechanism to capture prey.[4][7]

Reproduction[edit]

Anthopleura xanthogrammica reproduce sexually via external fertilization of sperm and eggs in the late fall. Newly formed pelagic, planktotrophic larvae float in the water until dispersing and settling in mussel beds.[3][4][7]

Feeding[edit]

Nematocysts found in the tentacles assist A. xanthogrammica to catch and paralyze prey.[3][4][7] After feeding and digestion is complete,the anemone excretes its waste back through the mouth opening.[4][7]

Predators and prey[edit]

Main predators of A. xanthogrammica include: the leather seastar Dermasterias imbricata,[5] the nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa and the snail Epitonium tinctum (both feed on the tentacles), and the snails Opalia chacei and Opalia funiculata and the sea spider Pycnogonum stearnsi (that feed on the column).[4][7]

The anemone feeds on sea urchins, small fish, and crabs, but detached mussels seem to be the main food source.[5][7]

Similar species[edit]

Occasionally, A. xanthogrammica can be confused with large individuals of A. elegantissima or A. sola, but both of these other anemones have pink-tipped tentacles and a striped oral disk, unlike A.xanthogrammica.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anthopleura xanthogrammica (Brandt, 1835) World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  2. ^ Lamb, A and B Handy. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing, British Columbia: 85.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Laroche, C. 2005. Anthopleura xanthogrammica (on-line), Race Rocks.com. Accessed May 10, 2010 at http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/eco/taxalab/2005/anthopleurax/anthopleurax.htm
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Skiles, M. 2001. Anthopleura xanthogrammica (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 11, 2010 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Anthopleura_xanthogrammica.html
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l White, B. 2004. Anthopleura xanthogrammica (on-line), Walla Walla University. Accessed May 10, 2010 at http://www.wallawalla.edu/academics/departments/biology/rosario/inverts/Cnidaria/Class-Anthozoa/Subclass_Zoantharia/Order_Actiniaria/Anthopleura_xanthogrammica.html
  6. ^ Kozloff, E. 1973. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast. University of Washington Press, Seattle, 166-167.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Encyclopedia of Life. 2010. “Anthopleura xanthogrammica” (on-line), EOL.org. Accessed May 10, 2010 at http://www.eol.org/pages/704306
  8. ^ Gotshall, D. 2005. Guide to Marine Invertebrates. Shoreline Press, Santa Barbara:30.
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