Category Archives: Cnidarians

An orange cave dweller sitting where it shouldn’t be

Orange cup coral - Tubastraea Coccinea
Orange cup coral – Tubastraea Coccinea

Orange cup coralTubastraea Coccinea
belongs to a group of corals known as large-polyp stony corals. This non-reef building coral extends beautiful translucent tentacles at night. Tubastraea coccinea is heterotrophic and does not contain zooxanthellae in its tissues as many tropical corals do, allowing it to grow in complete darkness as long as it can capture enough food, namely plankton.

It is nice to see Tabastrea Coccinea in its natural environment. OCC has been introduced to all continents except Antarctica and is thought to compete with native benthic invertebrates for space and to compromise their communities. The reduction of native sponges and native corals could also have significant flow-on effects for entire ecosystems. OCC was introduced in the Caribbean in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s at Curaçao and/or Puerto Rico probably transported by fouled vessels, oil and gas platforms, artificial reef structures, or ballast waters.

Etymology
Tubus = tube; +astrea = Astrea – Astraea, daughter of Zeus and Themis, a goddess of justice named after the stars.
coccineus = Latin meaning ‘red like a berry’, scarlet.

The many footed

Porous sea rodPseudoplexaura porosa
The holes from which the polyps project are large and crowded together, and are arranged spirally up the branches. The polyps overlap each other, each one having eight tentacles. The polyps spread out their tentacles to feed on plankton both day and night. The octocoral has symbionts with zooxanthellae that inhabit the tissues.

The polyps are armed with nematocysts (stinging cells) and can be retracted into the branches defensively. Pseudoplexaura porosa has few predators that feed on it including the flamingo tongue snail, nudibranchs, butterflyfish and some angelfish.

Individual colonies of P. porosa are either male or female. On particular nights about five days after a full moon in summer, mature colonies liberate gametes into the sea. Planula larvae that develop from fertilized eggs sink to the seabed five days later and undergo metamorphosis to found new colonies. These are soon colonized by zooxanthellae and grow by budding of new polyps. Besides growing asexually and reproducing sexually, pieces of this coral may detach from the parent colony and become fixed to substrate to create a new colony. P. porosa can live for several decades, and the greatest cause of mortality is detachment from the seabed during tropical storms

Etymology
pseudo – Greek ‘false, lying’ +plex – Latin ‘to plait’ a single length of flexible material made up of three or more interlaced strands; a braid.
porosa – Latin porus ‘an opening’

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Pink Pepé Le Pew

Pink Skunk clownfish - Amphiprion Perideraion
Pink Skunk clownfish – Amphiprion Perideraion

Pink Skunk clownfishAmphiprion Perideraion
The Pink Skunk is the only species of anemonefish to primarily feed on algae.

The magnificent sea anemoneHeteractis Magnifica – has two feeding methods. The first one is through the photosynthesis of its symbiotic zooxanthellae, living in its tissues, the second by capturing its prey with its tentacles that allow it to immobilize its prey (small invertebrates, fry or juvenile fish) See also https://marinebiology.org/2019/01/19/clarks/

Etymology:
Amphiprion: Greek, amphi = on both sides + Greek, prion, -onos = saw

This Orangutan also lives in a Bubble

Orangutan Crab in Bubble Coral, Achaeus japonicus in Plerogyra sinuosa
Orangutan Crab in Bubble Coral, Achaeus japonicus in Plerogyra sinuosa

Orangutan Crab Achaeus japonicus
“orangutan” comes from the Malay words “orang” (man) and “(h)utan” (forest).  Hence, “man of the forest,” and these crabs really seem to look like their Terra-based namesakes. Not only do they resemble Orang-utans with their hair, but they also seem to sway their front legs from side to side in a very good imitation of an this great ape!!
It is frequently, but not always, found in association with the bubble coral Plerogyra sinuosa

Etymology:
japonicus – Latin, literally ‘Japanese’
The Achaeus Greek  – Ἀχαιοί, were one of the four major tribes into which the people of Classical Greece divided themselves (along with the Aeolians, Ionians and Dorians)

Clownfish and its Tent

Clark's Anemonefish - Amphiprion Clarkii
Clark’s Anemonefish – Amphiprion Clarkii

Clark’s AnemonefishAmphiprion Clarkii
In a group of clownfish, there is a strict dominance hierarchy. The largest and most aggressive fish is female and is found at the top. Only two clownfish, a male and a female, in a group reproduce through external fertilization. Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning that they develop into males first, and when they mature, they become females. They are not aggressive.

Magnificent Sea AnemoneHeteractis Magnifica
Venom present in sea anemone (Heteractis magnifica) induces apoptosis in non-small-cell lung cancer A549 cells through activation of mitochondria-mediated pathway. The longevity of in the wild is unknown, but estimated that some of these anemones are hundreds of years old. The Clarks Anemonefish lifespan is only 14 years. The reproduction of the anemone can be sexual by simultaneous transmission of male and female gametes in the water or asexual by scissiparity,which means that the anemone divides itself into two individuals, separating from the foot or the mouth. That makes me say “Hmmm, very impresive.

Life among the Bubbles

Bubble Coral Shrimp - Vir philippinensis
Bubble Coral Shrimp – Vir philippinensis
Bubble CoralPlerogyra sinuosa

Bubble Coral ShrimpVir philippinensis
Like all coral associated shrimps, the limit between, parasitism and mutual symbiosis, is pretty thin. Probably that the shrimp, in exchange of food and shelter, helps fight off some small parasites, such as flat worms, coral eating nudies, some sponges or algae that would compete with the corals. or even clean the coral off any detritus, sand…

Bubble CoralPlerogyra sinuosa
The vesicles resembling bubbles up to 1 in in diameter. These enlarge during the day but retract to a certain extent during the night to expose the polyps and their tentacles. It obtains most of its nutritional needs from the symbiotic dinoflagellates that live inside its soft tissues including the walls of the vesicles. These photosynthetic organisms provide the coral with organic carbon and nitrogen, sometimes providing up to 90% of their host’s energy needs for metabolism and growth. Its remaining needs are met by the planktonic organisms caught by the polyps at night.

Etymology
Vir – from Latin ‘man’
philippinensis –  Means “from the Philippines”
Plerogyra Plero from Latin ‘almost’ + gyra, alteration of Greek gŷros ‘circle’ or ’round’
sinuosa – Latin ‘winding’