Monday, July 23, 2007

Sea Anemone Workshop

On a Saturday afternoon, we had the privilege to attend a sea anemone workshop conducted by world expert, Dr Daphne Fautin.

Dr Daphne shared with us many interested facts about anemones, many of which we didn't know. Sea anemones are anatomically simple animals with one body opening and no organs. But they are functionally complex including the ability to reproduce sexually.

She also revealed to us what are NOT true anemones like the "mushroom anemones" of order Corallimorpharia, zoathids and the most commonly mistake "peacock anemones" of order Cerianthiaria.

I'm also came to know that actually all anemones are carnivores and many true anemones burrow. Not only that, we also were enlightened on how these anemones move, interact and adapt to other species and the environment.

Dr Daphne also shared on the symbiotic relationship of anemonefishes with the anemones. It is obvious that these anemones protect the hosting fishes against predators but does sea anemones benefit by hosting fishes?

The answer is not necessarily; not all. However, there are cases where shortly after fish collectors took away the anemonefishes, and within 10 minutes, butterflyfishes move in to feed on these vacant "defensiveless" anemones! Therefore, anemonefishes maybe important after all.

For aquarium lovers, there is simply no reason for you to put an anemone inside the tank to protect anemone fishes because there are no predators in the first place. So please do not poach these 100-300 year old anemones from the wild. Leave them, respect them, they are older than you and I. They live well in the wild.

The workshop was really good and Dr Daphne taught us how to identify sea anemones. We must take note of the external morphology (eg: number of tentacles, arrangement, shape etc), mesenteries, column specialisation, nature of base, presence of acontia (threads emitted) etc. One thing to note is colour is typically NOT diagnostic, a good example will be Heteractis magnifica that comes in different colours.

Towards the end of the slides, Dr Daphne shared on how to collect and preserve anemones for scientific purposes.

And the interesting part is Dr Dahpne solved some of the mysteries of Singapore's very own anemones! The "Peachia" (not) means it is not a peachia as firstly thought to be. Thanks Dr Daphne for all the corrections.

And minimally, Singapore has 32 species of anemones! Wow.

The slides presentation by Dr Dahpne was done and it was time for some specimen or practical time. Here we have a "strawberry" anemone, still alive, waiting for further identification.

These anemones are still alive and doing ok in a tank. Wonder how long can they stay alive?

These little things are also anemones, of which we can find Diadumene luciae.

This is how Stichodactyla tapetum looks like after being preserved.

And they are being preserved in a jar for Raffles Museum.

We saw the live one of this swimming anemone swimming as well. But I don't have the photo though. Airani has it!

We had a good time looking at the anemones with a mircoscope and look at Airani with her camera into the microscope lens. Hey she took VERY nice photos through it. Can't wait to get from her the clips and shots.

As previously mentioned, this is a "false anemone" or the corallimorph. They are very pretty though.

And within the tank, sharp-eyed Chay Hoon spotted something! It is a skeleton shrimp! Can you see it?

That's the best my camera can offer with the microscope lens of the skeleton shrimp. It is extremely small but to everyone's shock, we saw MANY babies attached to the body. wow!

Chay Hoon shared her book on how the skeleton shrimps look like, with hydroids.

I thought they look like "sea monkeys". Hahahahaha.

And here's Airani and Siva's post with great photos and video:

“The Swimming Sea Anemone, Boloceroides mcmurrichi,” by Airani S. & N. Sivasothi.
Habitatnews, 24 Jul 2007


Sivasothi said...

Airani's photos on Habitatnews flickr account.

Sivasothi said...

Airani's video of the swimming sea anemone and links to a couple of papers on Habitatnews.

Unknown said...

thanks Siva

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