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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A mouthful for a Moonglow

This is just a fun record of an interesting prey item for a very pretty sea anemone.  Eric and I have continued our surveys of Bull Kelp holdfasts.  Recently, we found this beautiful Moonglow Anemone (Anthopleura artemisia) in a holdfast.  When we looked at it underwater, Eric noticed that it was holding on to some unusual food items!

It's important to remember that these holdfasts can be drifting around offshore for a while, so they can be substrate for pelagic species.

This Moonglow Anemone was eating cyprids (the final larval stage) of pelagic gooseneck barnacles (Lepas spp.).  It's probably an unusual food item for a Moonglow Anemone, as more often these anemones live on the bottom in intertidal or subtidal habitats where they're not likely to encounter pelagic barnacles.

Below is a closeup of the barnacle cyprids.  (If you'd like to see better pictures and learn more about this type of cyprid, review the post from 2 July 2012.)

And here's one more picture:  A closeup of the anemone's tentacles.  I'm guessing every tentacle has a different pattern!

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