STICHODACTYLA GIGANTEA - (FORSKAL, 1775)
Cnidaria (Phylum) > Anthozoa (Class) > Hexacorallia (Subclass) > Actiniaria (Order) > Nyantheae (Suborder) > Thenaria (Infraorder) > Endomyaria (Superfamily) > Stichodactylidae (Family) > Stichodactyla (Genus)
Stichodactyla gigantea est une anémone de mer de la famille des Stichodactylidés.
Stichodactyla gigantea est assez ressemblante et vit aussi sur substrat sableux, mais en eaux moins profondes. Les convolutions de son disque oral sont moins régulières. Outre le substrat, la meilleure manière de discriminer les Stichodactyla est de regarder la présence et la coloration des verrues sous le disque oral : bleues pour Stichodactyla gigantea, orange pour Stichodactyla mertensii, pas de verrues colorées pour Stichodactyla haddoni.
Lichomolgus gemmatus Humes, 1964 (parasitic: ectoparasitic)
Lichomolgus magnificus Humes, 1964 (parasitic: ectoparasitic)
Critomolgus gemmatus (Humes, 1964) (parasitic: ectoparasitic)
Critomolgus magnificus (Humes, 1964) (parasitic: ectoparasitic)
Doridicola gemmatus (Humes, 1964) (parasitic: ectoparasitic)
Doridicola magnificus (Humes, 1964) (parasitic: ectoparasitic)
Lambanetes stichodactylae Humes, 1982 (parasitic: ectoparasitic)
Metaxymolgus cuspis (Humes, 1964) (parasitic: ectoparasitic)
This enormous colourful carpet anemone with short skinny tentacles is commonly seen on our Southern shores, usually on hard surfaces such as coral rubble, near reefs. It is also sometimes seen on coral rubble on our Northern shores. Those seen about 40-50cm in diameter when exposed out of water. The oral disk expands when submerged. The large oral disk covered with short tentacles so that it resembles a shaggy carpet. The oral disk is often folded and rarely held flat against the surface, unlike Merten's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii). The long body column is usually buried or inserted into a crevice and ends in a pedal disk that anchors the animal. Body column is sometimes colourful (bright pink, orange, yellow). Bumps (verrucae) appear as rows of spots, generally in bright colours (pink, purple). They are non-adhesive and found on the upper part of the body column. Tentacles short (about 1cm), narrow and uniform in length. Usually brown or purplish with lighter coloured tips. The tentacles are not very tightly packed and when submerged, are usually in constant motion. The tentacles are very sticky. It does not have a fringe of long-short tentacles at the edge of the oral disk like Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni). Sometimes confused with other large sea anemones and similar large cnidarians. Here's more on how to tell apart the different kinds of carpet anemones and large 'hairy' cnidarians.
Carpet anemones harbour symbiotic single-celled algae (called zooxanthallae). The algae undergo photosynthesis to produce food from sunlight. The food produced is shared with the sea anemone, which in return provides the algae with shelter and minerals. The zooxanthallae are believed to give tentacles their brown or greenish tinge. Carpet anemones may also feed on fine particles that are trapped on their bodies. These anemones have not been observed to eat large animals.
Besides the symbiotic algae that lives inside the their tentacles several kinds of animals have been associated with giant carpet anemones. These include anemone shrimps (Periclimenes sp.), and fishes such as Dascyllus trimaculatus and anemonefishes (Amphiprion sp.) including A. akindynos, A. bicinctus, A. clarkii, A. ocellaris, A. percula, A. perideraion, A. polymnus. But so far, the only animals observed on giant carpet anemones were: the Five-spot anemone shrimps (Periclimines brevicarpalis) and the False clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris).
Like other sea anemones, the Carpet anemone has stingers in its tentacles. Generally, these stings do not hurt human beings, but they can leave welts on sensitive skin. There is not much information on how Carpet anemones reproduce. Unfortunately, these beautiful anemones are harvested for the live aqurium trade.
Status and threats
Carpet anemones are not listed among the threatened animals of Singapore. However, like other animals harvested for the live aquarium trade, most die before they can reach the retailers. Without professional care, most die soon after they are sold. Those that do survive are unlikely to breed successfully. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors, and over-collection also have an impact on local populations.