tuberculate night anemone

This small invertebrate measures about two inches in height. It is a type of unusual sea anemone, anchored on the hard reef substrate.  The anemones are are a very diverse bunch and since this is not a common species, it is impossible to determine the exact taxonomy, or even the exact genus, from the photo alone . It appears to be what is known as a "tuberculate night anemone", a member of the family Aliciidae. Presently there are nearly 1500 species of scientifically described sea anemones, though this is by no means a conclusive count of the actual number in existence. Many have been recently found to have multiple names and others are likely to exist that have never been described.

This anemone is characterized by a translucent white central column, cylindrical in shape, with an  orange center. It has tubercular, clustered growths dispersed along the length of the column, crowned by long, tapering tentacles. The tentacles are also translucent, with faint white spots along their length.

In this photo, taken on a night dive, the delicate tentacles are highlighted by the peculiar angle of the camera strobe, shown wound into a tight corkscrew-like spiral form.  They have likely been retracted and are now emerging for a night feeding.

Identification: family Aliciidae, genus and species undetermined


related links:


description of Aliciidae from the Tree of Life, authored by Dr. Daphne G. Fautin

Inventory of Sea Anemones of the World, by Dr. Daphne G. Fautin


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