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Heterodactyla hemprichii (Family Thalassianthidae)

Hemprich's Anemone

Distribution:

Heterodactyla hemprichii occurs in Australian waters along the tropical Queensland coast and Ashmore Reef, Western Australia. It has been collected from other Indo-Pacific locations including the Red Sea and Indonesia. (WA, QLD)

Features:

This large anemone resembles the Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) in that it has short tentacles over much of the body, however the tentacles in Hemprich's Anemone are multi-branched so that they look like a person's hand. A second type of longer and thicker tentacle containing stinging cells is found scattered towards the edge of the margin of the oral disc.

The strongly folded body of Hemprich's Anemone is up to 300 mm in diameter, and white, brown or green in colour. Tentacles are green to greenish brown and the nematophores are violet or blue. The column is vase-shaped, with verrucae on the upper part of the column.

Ecology/Way of Life:

This species is uncommon, often attached to and beneath branching corals. Unlike many other species of the family Thalassianthidae, this species of anemone does not host anemone fish.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

There are no known threats to this species.

Other Comments:

This species is named after the German-Russian naturalist, Hemprich. No common names have previously been used for this or other species of this genus. This species resembles anemones of the genus Stichodactyla.

Further Reading:

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

Fosså, S.A. & Nilsen, A.J. (1998) The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium. Birgit Schmettkamp Verlag, Bornheim, 479 pp.

Acknowledgments:

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

Photograph by Neville Coleman.

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