CNIDARIA : PENNATULACEA : PennatulidaeSEA ANEMONES AND HYDROIDS

Pennatula phosphorea Linnaeus, 1758


Description: This sea pen forms stout, red colonies shaped like a fleshy feather. Small white polyps grow in rows on lateral 'leaves'. Up to 250mm long, usually about 100-150mm. Can luminesce in darkness when disturbed.

Habitat: Lives with the fleshy stalk embedded in mud, sand or gravel. Always off-shore in depths greater than 10m.

Distribution: Probably on most coasts of the British Isles, but rather local. Only encountered by recent diving surveys in western Scotland. Generally distributed around western Europe. More information on habitat and occurrence in Britain would be welcomed.

Similar Species: The three Sea-pens are very distinctive and are unlikely to cause confusion.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map:  download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)

Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slow, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.


 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland
http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=D10670

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