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Urticina piscivora - Fish-eating anemone

Geographic range:
Alaska to California

Key features:
Smooth red column and either all white or red tentacles.

Similar species:
Urticina lofotensis -- White-spotted rose anemone Urticina columbiana -- Sand-rose anemone

Habitat(s):
bay (rocky shore), exposed rocky shore, kelp forest, protected rocky shore
Urticina piscivora - Fish-eating anemone image

 

Primary common name:
Fish-eating anemone
  ITIS code:
611869
Synonymous name(s):
Tealia piscivora
General grouping:
Corals and anemones


Geographic Range
Range description:
Alaska to southern Channel Islands, CA
Northern latitude extent:
--
  Southern latitude extent:
--
East longitude extent:
--
  West longitude extent:
--


Intertidal Height
Lowest intertidal height:
meters OR -2 feet
  Highest intertidal height:
meters OR 0 feet
Intertidal height notes:
Uncommon in the intertidal of central California.


Subtidal Depth Range
Minimum depth:
0 meters OR 0 feet
  Maximum depth:
48 meters OR feet
Subtidal depth notes:
--


Habitats
Habitat(s):
bay (rocky shore), exposed rocky shore, kelp forest, protected rocky shore
Habitat notes:
Often found in kelp forests attached to rocky reef.


Abundance
Relative abundance:
Common to abundant


Species Description
General description:
There are several species of Urticina, but each is slightly different from the other. U. piscivora has a brick red and very smooth column, lacking any of the otherwise distinctive bumps (verrucae) found on congeners. Tentacles are either solid white or a solid red color, but different from the column red. Oral disc is mostly a golden orange, with red markings surrounding the base of each tentacle and arranged in a radiating pattern from the center. Younger individuals have white and red/pink tentacles, somewhat like U. coriacea but the column is still a solid, smooth red color.
Distinctive features:
A smooth red column lacking verrucae and about three rows of tentacles, usually solid white or red.
Size:
Tentacle diameter: to 35 cm
Basal diameter: to 20 cm
Height: to 25 cm


Natural History
General natural history:
U. piscivora is a common, sometimes abundant, inhabitant of kelp forests in central California. Like other anemones, it uses nematocysts to capture and consume prey. A nematocyst is produced by a specialized cell (cnidocyte or nematocyte) and includes a physically-activated trigger (cnidocil) that leads to an electro-chemical change in the cell. This in turn causes the hollow, coiled tube to shoot out of the operculum and force numerous barbs into the tissue contacting the cell. A neurotxin is then pumped in through this hollow, harpoon-like thread, which may lead to paralysis or death.

Although called the fish-eating anemone, there is evidence that the painted greenling Oxylebius pictus may actually associate with U. piscivora but remains unharmed.
Predator(s):
It is not known what, if anything, preys upon U. piscivora.
Prey:
Planktonic organisms and anything small enough that falls into the grasp of the tentacles and is unable to escape.


Feeding behavior
Feeding behavior(s):
Sessile suspension feeder
Feeding behavior notes:
--
 
 
Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary:
--
 
Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary:
--
 
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary:
None known at this time.
 
Listing Status:
--
 
Monitoring Trends:
--
 
References:
Gotshall, D. 2005. Guide to marine invertebrates : Alaska to Baja California. Sea Challengers, Monterey, CA. 117 p.

Lamb, A. and B. P. Hanby. 2005. Marine life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing. 398 p.

Pearse, V., J. Pearse, M. Buchsbaum, and R. Buchsbaum. 1994. Living invertebrates. Boxwood Press. 848 p.

 
Data supplied by SIMoN Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Anthopleura xanthogrammica - Giant green anemone

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