The Magnificent Anemone occurs in tropical and subtropical waters. It has a broad Indo-Pacific distribution from East Africa to French Polynesia, and Australia to the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. (WA, NT, QLD)Features:
This is one of the most conspicuous and frequently photographed species of anemone. It is a symbiotic host to 12 species of anemone fish of the genus Amphiprion. Adults are large, commonly growing to 500 mm in diameter, but specimens up to 1 m have been recorded.
The oral disc is flat to gently undulating, usually green or brown in colour and densely covered with finger-like tentacles. Immediately (20–30 mm) around the mouth the oral disk may be yellow, brown or green, free of tentacles and slightly convex. Tentacles reach up to 75 mm in length and are unique to this genus in that the tips are blunt or slightly swollen at the tip. They are usually the same colour as the oral disk and interestingly may bifurcate or branch in two.
This species may be seen with the oral disc fully extended, with undulating folds moving in the current, or may be partly or almost completely retracted, so that the column wall is obvious and only a few tentacles are visible. The column is often brightly coloured blue, green, pink, red or brown and has longitudinal rows of bumps (verrucae) that extend down its length.Ecology/Way of Life:
The Magnificent Anemone lives in exposed, high-current positions on reefs, where it attaches to rocky surfaces for stability. It can be solitary or clonal — in central Indo-Pacific locations, smaller animals of identical colouration may cluster together, resembling one larger animal. In other locations, e.g., Maldives, Malaysia and French Polynesia, tens or hundreds of identically coloured individuals form extensive beds — they are thought to constitute a single clone.
This anemone is usually seen with a couple or family of its symbiotic fish species inhabiting the area around its tentacles. It may also host species of shrimp or crab.Interaction with Humans/Threats:
The Magnificent Anemone, often known as the Ritteri Anemone, is a common species in the aquarium trade. This is despite being very difficult to keep and transport, and it's habit of eating other aquarium inhabitants! Due to their large size, obvious colouration and shallow-water habitat these anemones are vulnerable to collectors and may easily be fished out.Other Comments:
The symbiotic relationship between this species and certain anemone fish has been researched with respect to topics such as host recognition, host imprinting, competition, mating systems and defence mechanisms.Further Reading:
Fautin, D.G. (1988) Anthozoan dominated benthic environments In, Proceedings of the 6th International Coral Reef Symposium, Australia. Pp.231 – 236.
Fautin, D.G. (1991) The anemonefish symbiosis: What is known and what is not. Symbiosis 10: 23 – 46.
Fautin, D.G. & Allen, G.R. (1997) Anemone Fishes and their Host Sea Anemones: A guide for aquarists and divers. Western Australian Museum, Perth. 160 pp.
Fautin, D.G. (2003) Hexacorallians of the World. http://hercules.kgs.ku.edu/hexacoral/anemone2/index.cfmTopics: Anemones and anemonefish
Text & map by Carden Wallace & Zoe Richards, Museum of Tropical Queensland.
Photograph by Karen Gowlett-Holmes.Sponsorship welcomed:
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