Thursday, April 13, 2006

Giant Sea Anemone

Giant Sea Anemone
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An enormous sea anemone from 2500m depth on the East Pacific Rise is reported this month in the journal Marine Biology. The monstrous actiniarian Boloceroides daphneae is abundant on boulders, cliffs, and rocky outcrops near hydrothermal vent sites but not on them, writes author Marymegan Daly from Ohio State University. The largest living specimen she found had a column diameter of 1m, a tentacle crown of 2m diameter, and tentacles trailing an estimated 3m and more. That's just downright dangerous. B. daphneae's closest living relative is the comparatively diminuitive Cerianthid anemone found in warmer coastal waters.

The new species has been known since 1990, but it was tough to collect, and it provides a good example of commonly encountered but largely unstudied species in the deep sea environment. According to Daly, the eggs of B. daphneae are yolky, and should therefore be long lived. Theoretically, they should also be capable of fairly broad dispersal on deep ocean currents, maybe even caught in a hydrothermal updraft to be cast even more widely. This would account for their broad distribution. Ten or more giant anemones can be seen in a 'typical' eight hour dive.

Here is a link
to more .

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