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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Handed down

I was thinking about Cadet and Wini Hand this past weekend.  (Cadet was the founding director of the Bodega Marine Laboratory.)  And then something fun happened.  We were in the field on Sunday morning (15 July 2018) when Eric noticed a small sea anemone that he didn't recognize:


The anemone was only ~7 mm across.  It had lots of tentacles, and the tentacles were narrow and tapered to a point.  We could also see that the tentacles were banded with white.

From the side you could see the translucent orange column:


We spent some time researching the identity of this little anemone and it turned out to be Metridium exile, a species that Cadet Hand described in 1955!

Here's a close-up of the oral disc and tentacles (below).  Note this species often has 96 tentacles!


A few facts about Metridium exile:

- It's distributed from British Columbia to Carmel, California.

- It's usually found on the outer coast (in contrast to its more common relative, Metridium senile, that's found in bays).

- It's smallthe largest specimens are ~12 mm in diameter.

- It reproduces asexually via longitudinal fission.  (In the field, we saw a cluster of several small individuals that were presumably clone mates.)


We had a hard time finding photographs of Metridium exile, so here's another beautiful image that Eric took:


Thanks, Cadet, for noticing and describing this wonderful local sea anemone! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And thanks to Eric for those breathtaking photos!