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Stichodactyla mertensii

Mertens' carpet sea anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii) is a species of stichodactylid sea anemones. It is regarded as the largest sea anemone with a diameter of over 1 m (3.3 ft), the next largest being Heteractis magnifica which has longer tentacles.[2] This species has an oral disc that can be described as more ovoid than circular that contours to the surrounding substrate and is attached to the substrate by adhesive verrucae, which are wart like projections.[3] Its blunt or pointed tentacles are uniformly shaped, and are only about 1–2 centimetres (0.39–0.79 in) long.[2] While this species can be confused with Stichodactyla gigantea and S. haddoni, they are most easily distinguished by habitat since the former two prefer sand while S. mertensii prefers rocky or coral substrate.[3] It contains obligate symbiotic zooxanthellae, and can serve as a host anemone to 17 separate fish species, the majority of which are anemonefish, with one damselfish.

Fish associated with S. mertensii include:[4][5][6]

Recently, Amphiprion clarkii and Amphiprion sandaracinos were observed to coexist within one host anemone of Stichodactyla mertensii.[7]


  1. ^ "Stichodactyla mertensii Brandt, 1835". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 13 February 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Fautin, D.G.; Allen, G.R. (1992). Field guide to anemone fishes and their host sea anemones. Perth: Western Australian Museum. 
  3. ^ a b Fautin, D.G.; Allen, G. R. (1994). Anemone fishes and their host sea anemones. MN: Voyageur Press. 
  4. ^ Fautin, Daphne G; Gerald R Allen (1992). Anemone Fishes and Their Host Sea Anemones (2 (1997) ed.). Western Australian Museum. p. 160. 
  5. ^ Fautin, Daphne G. (2006). "Hexacorallians of the World". Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Fenner, Bob. "'Carpet Anemones in Captive Systems". The Conscientious Reef Aquarist. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Bos, Arthur (2012). "Clownfishes Amphiprion clarkii and A. sandaracinos (Pomacentridae) coexist in the sea anemone Stichodactyla mertensii". Coral Reefs 30: 369. doi:10.1007/s00338-010-0713-3. 


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