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Gurney's Sea Pen

Ptilosarcus gurneyi (Gray 1860)

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The orange sea pen is luminescent. It has no light-producing organs, but its color comes from mucous formed in response to touch. Luminosity is inhibited by exposure to direct light. Sea pens also live symbiotically with Pseudoporcellanella (a crab).

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Lambert, J. 1999. "Ptilosarcus gurneyi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ptilosarcus_gurneyi.html
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Jenny Lambert, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Sea pens have inhabited the earth's surface for hundreds of millions of years. Currently, their numbers are not declining or threatened. Because sea pens are vulnerable to dredges used for oyster harvesting, the only threat to their survival arises from humans. Sea pens are found throughout the world, from tropical to Anarctic waters.

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Lambert, J. 1999. "Ptilosarcus gurneyi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ptilosarcus_gurneyi.html
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Jenny Lambert, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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Ptilosarcus gurneyi is a planktonic feeder. The autozooid branch of the polyp filters minute organisms into the main axis of the sea pen. These organisms are digested by fluid secreted from special filaments. The particles are phagocytized and passed to mesogloeal cells, in which the digestion process is completed.

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Lambert, J. 1999. "Ptilosarcus gurneyi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ptilosarcus_gurneyi.html
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Jenny Lambert, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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British Columbia to Central California.

Biogeographic Regions: pacific ocean (Native )

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Lambert, J. 1999. "Ptilosarcus gurneyi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ptilosarcus_gurneyi.html
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Jenny Lambert, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Ptilosarcus gurneyi are found anchored in soft or sandy substrates. They live in a range from below the low-tide line to water more than 30 meters (100 ft) deep.

Aquatic Biomes: benthic ; coastal

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Lambert, J. 1999. "Ptilosarcus gurneyi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ptilosarcus_gurneyi.html
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Jenny Lambert, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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Sea pens grow to be about 46 cm high and 102 mm wide. They consist of 20 pairs of flat, wide side branches with rows of polyps along both edges.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; radial symmetry

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Lambert, J. 1999. "Ptilosarcus gurneyi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ptilosarcus_gurneyi.html
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Jenny Lambert, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Sea pens reproduce by spawning. Typical egg size is 500-600 micrometers. The peak breeding season occurs from March until April. Fertilized ova develop into planula, which are non-feeding and free-swimming and usually settle quickly. Once settled, the planula larva metamorphose into a polyp, and their base becomes a stem. The secondary polyps grow laterally from this structure. The juveniles grow rapidly; they can survive unfed for weeks.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement

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Lambert, J. 1999. "Ptilosarcus gurneyi" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ptilosarcus_gurneyi.html
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Jenny Lambert, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Look Alikes

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How to Distinguish from Similar Species: There are no similar species near Rosario.
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Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

Habitat

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Sand and mud bottoms
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Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

Distribution

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Geographical Range: Gulf of Alaska to southern California
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Habitat

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Depth Range: Shallow subtidal to 70 m
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Comprehensive Description

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A sea pen with a fleshy lower part of stalk, which is buried in the sediment. Upper part of central stalk has a hard central support. Branches are thick and fleshy with small polyps along the edges. Usually yellow or orange, often large. Has great powers to expand or contract.
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Comprehensive Description

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Biology/Natural History: The entire central part is said to be one large polyp. Smaller, inconspicuous polyps open into it and pump water in an out as needed for expansion or contraction. Produces a strong greenish luminescence when disturbed. Preyed upon by several nudibranchs, including Hermissenda crassicornis, Armina californica, and Tritonia festiva, and of the seastars Dermasterias imbricata, Pycnopodia helianthoides, Mediaster aequalis, and Crossaster papposus. The sea pens may rapidly burrow into the sediment when contacted by a predator. Although they do not appear to burrow when exposed only to seawater which contained a predatory seastar, they were more likely to burrow after contacting a predatory seastar if they had already been exposed to its smell. This species responds to different predators differently.
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Ptilosarcus gurneyi

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(video) Orange sea pens

Ptilosarcus gurneyi, the orange sea pen or fleshy sea pen, is a species of sea pen in the family Pennatulidae. It is native to the northeastern Pacific Ocean where it lives in deep water anchored by its base in sand or mud. It has received its common name because of its resemblance to a quill in a bottle of ink.

Description

The orange sea pen is a colonial cnidarian, the individual polyps having their own specialised functions. One, the primary polyp, loses its tentacles and forms both the stalk of the colony (known as the rachis), and the bulbous base with which it anchors itself deep into the soft substrate. Other polyps are known as secondary polyps. They include autozooids, which are feeding polyps, being armed with cnidocytes on the eight branching tentacles which form the feathery branches of the sea pen. They also contain the gonads. Other secondary polyps are siphonozooids, which can force water into and out of the colony to ventilate it. When the colony is disturbed, it can pump water out and retract into its bulbous base. At this time it emits bioluminescence, perhaps in order to startle a potential predator. The animal resembles an old-fashioned quill pen. It grows to a height of about 46 centimetres (18 in) and can be white, yellow or orange.[2][3]

Distribution and habitat

The orange sea pen is found on the western coast of North America, its range extending from Alaska to southern California. It grows on soft sand or mud substrates at depths ranging from 14 to 225 metres (46 to 738 ft).[2]

Biology

The orange sea pen feeds on plankton which it catches with the tentacles on its feathery plumes. It orients itself at right angles to the current and can relocate to a new location if it wishes.[3] Breeding takes place when eggs and sperm are produced by the autozooids and expelled through the mouth into the water column. The planula larvae drift as part of the plankton before settling on the seabed and undergoing metamorphosis. The newly formed juveniles are the founding primary polyps of new colonies.[3]

Certain starfish prey on the orange sea pen. It can distinguish between the threats posed by the specialist predator leather star (Dermasterias imbricata), the generalist predator sunflower seastar (Pycnopodia helianthoides) and the ochre sea star (Pisaster ochraceus), which does not feed on sea pens. It reacts by emitting a flash of light and diving into the sand when contact is made by the leather star, sometimes behaves similarly when approached by the sunflower seastar and does not react defensively when touched by the ochre sea star.[4]

References

  1. ^ van Ofwegen, Leen (2015). "Ptilosarcus gurneyi (Gray, 1860)". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  2. ^ a b "Sea pen". Monterey Bay Aquarium. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  3. ^ a b c "Sea pen". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  4. ^ Weightman, Janice O.; Arsenault, David J. (2002). "Predator classification by the sea pen Ptilosarcus gurneyi (Cnidaria): role of waterborne chemical cues and physical contact with predatory sea stars". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 80 (1): 185–190. doi:10.1139/z01-211.

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Ptilosarcus gurneyi: Brief Summary

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(video) Orange sea pens

Ptilosarcus gurneyi, the orange sea pen or fleshy sea pen, is a species of sea pen in the family Pennatulidae. It is native to the northeastern Pacific Ocean where it lives in deep water anchored by its base in sand or mud. It has received its common name because of its resemblance to a quill in a bottle of ink.

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Habitat

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van der Land, J. (ed). (2008). UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms (URMO).
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Jacob van der Land [email]
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Jacob van der Land [email]