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TAMU BIOL 113 - Biology Blog- Strawberry Anemone

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Brant RosserStrawberry AnemoneCorynactis californicaWhenever people think of strawberry anemone, they may not realize that there are three separate species found in different regions. The Actinia fragacea is found in the north-eastern and eastern parts of the Atlantic Ocean. The Corynactis annulate is found in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean. While the Corynactis californica is found on the North American Pacific Coast. However, all three species are extremely similar with a few minor differences, mainly in location. This being said, it is remarkable that the majority of the research done and information collected has been over the Corynactis californica. Scientific ClassificationThe classification of the strawberry anemone varies when looking at the three separate species, one more drastic than the others. The Actinia fragcea belongs to the Animalia Kingdom,Cnidaria Phylum, Anthozoa Class, Actiniaria Order, Actiniidae Family, and Actinia Genus. Both the Corynactis annulate and Corynactis californica belong to the Animalia Kingdom, Cnidaria Phylum, Anthozoa Class, Corallimorpharia Order, Corallimorphidae Family, and Corynactis Genus. CharacteristicsIn all three species, the strawberry anemone is extremely small in size, getting no bigger than 2.5 centimeters. They do not have a solid skeleton; therefore, they can stretch as needed. The majority of strawberry anemones are red in color with green spots, hence the name “strawberry,” but some are other colors such as: pink, purple, yellow, white, and even brown. They have tentacles with knobs on the end, however, these tentacles are usually transparent or white. Strawberry anemone are also highly territorial. They possess a ring of beads beneath theirtentacles, acrorhagithat, which contain stinging cells. These beads are used to fend off other anemones and prevent encroachment on their preferred patch. These stinging beads can be aBrant Rosserforce to be reckoned with when the strawberry anemones cluster grow to a large size, some have been reported at over 65 feet.Breeding ProcessThe strawberry anemone has been known to reproduce both asexually and sexually. They do this through fission and budding. The asexual process has been called “longitudinal division”due to the anemones producing clones of itself. The asexual reproduction is used to cover larger amounts of available ground. The strawberry anemones are dioecious and produce both egg strings and testicular cysts in synchronization through all polyps in a clone. The gametes are known to be stored within the mesoglea, in the gastrovascular cavity. They are produced between August and November and are then spawned in late November to the middle of December, in an annual cycle.Actinia fragaceaHabitatThe strawberry anemone is abundant on rocky, ledges, reefs, and pier pilings and can alsobe found in bays or open shores. They are normally found attached to the rocks and boulders, butthe strawberry anemone can be found semi-immersed in sand. Studies conducted have shown that strawberry anemone grow extremely well underneath the canopies of macroalgae. Species of which are those like, Macrocystis pyrifera and Eisenia arborea. Some of these macroalgae actually assist the anemone in protecting planktonic larvae, and directing particles of food to the polyps. The strawberry anemone is also found in large clusters due to its breeding process. The strawberry anemone within the cluster will often be all from one original anemone.Brant RosserFeeding ProcessThe strawberry anemone extrudes its mesenterial filaments onto its prey, and then proceeds to digest and absorb the prey. Its prey consists of crustaceans (brine shrimp), dead fish,larvae, copepods, invertebrates, and other sessile organisms living within its community. If the prey is too large to absorb the prey within the anemone’s coelenteron, it will digest externally.Economic ImportanceThe presence of aggregations of strawberry anemones has both a positive impact and negative impact on their environment. Their positive impact can be drawn back to the strawberry anemones increasing the density of the rock oysters and mussels by protecting them from the predatory sea stars. However, the negative impact they leave is due to them reducing thediversity within the communities in which they live. Overall, the strawberry anemones benefit the environment and will continue to do so despite changing conditions. Depending on how drastic the temperatures get, the strawberry anemone will continue to thrive, as they do at the moment in their milder

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