Pennatula phosphorea Linnaeus, 1758

Pennatula phosphorea

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: NBN map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Pennatula phosphorea Linnaeus, 1758. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2024-05-30

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