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Dofleinia armata (Family Actiniidae)

Striped Anemone

Distribution:

Dofleinia armata occurs in tropical Australia, south to Perth in Western Australia. (WA, NT, QLD)

Features:

This species is one of the largest and most dangerous of all the Australian anemones. It has a broad base and a smooth column. The oral disc is flat and broad. There are a few very large and long tentacles. The inner tentacles are at least twice as large as the outer tentacles. Papillae along the surfaces of the tentacles, are easily visible to the naked eye, and contain very large nematocysts. Weaker papillae, also containing nematocysts, are also present on the oral disc.

The large body of the Striped Anemone is up to 200 mm in diameter, with tentacles extending up to 500 mm in length. The tentacles have a scale-like surface, usually terminating in a slightly swollen tip. They are either striped brown and cream or plain, often curling into balls that obscure the mouth.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Striped Anemone is most common in tropical locations. It occurs intertidally to a depth of 20 m, in mud or fine silt, and is found in mangroves as well as on sheltered reef slopes. A well-developed hydrostatic system allows this anemone to expand its tentacles and body.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

The Striped Anemone is extremely dangerous to humans and can inflict very painful injuries that may take one to several months to heal. In this respect, there are no known threats to this species.

Other Comments:

It is also known as the Armed Anemone. The papillose disc and tentacles make this genus and species very distinct, although their relationship to other anemones is not clear.

Further Reading:

Coleman, N. (1977) A Field Guide to Australian Marine Life. Rigby Limited, Adelaide, 223 pp.

Fautin, D.G. (2003) Hexacorallians of the World. http://hercules.kgs.ku.edu/hexacoral/anemone2/index.cfm

Edgar, G.J. (1997) Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books, Kew, 544 pp.

Honma, T., Iso, T., Ishida, M., Nagashima, Y. & Shiomi, K. (2003) Occurrence of type 3 sodium channel peptide toxins in two species of sea anemones (Dofleinia armata & Entacmea ramsayi). Toxicon 41: 637 – 639.

Acknowledgments:

Text & map by Carden Wallace & Zoe Richards, Museum of Tropical Queensland.

Photograph by Karen Gowlett-Holmes.

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