This enormous carpet anemone with short fat tentacles is sometimes
seen on our Southern shores, usually on reefs by divers.
Features: Diameter to 1m or more.
The large oral disk covered with short tentacles so that it resembles
a carpet. The oral disk is often held flat against the surface, unlike
the Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla
gigantea) in which the oral disk is often folded. Small pedal
disc frequently attached in crevice. The anemone can retract but not
Body column tan to white with bumps (verrucae) that are adhesive and
appear as rows of spots, generally in magenta or orange (which may
appear purplish at depth). No verrucae below wide upper column, but
splotches of pigment continue down short, narrow column in more or
less longitudinal streaks.
The tentacles are not adhesive, club-shaped to finger-like. All tentacles
may be short (10-20 mm long), or some (in patches) very long (to 50
mm or more). 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
sea anemones with long tentacles and large
Carpet food: Carpet anemones
harbour symbiotic single-celled algae (called zooxanthellae). 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 zooxanthellae 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.
Giant friends: Besides the symbiotic
algae that lives inside the their tentacles several kinds of animals
have been associated with Merten's carpet anemones. These anemonefishes
(Amphiprion sp.) including A. akallopisos, A. akindynos,
A. allardi, A. chrysogaster, A. chrysopterus, A. clarkii, A. fuscocaudatus,
A. latifasciatus, A. leucokranos, A. ocellaris, A. sandaracinos, A.
tricinctus. But so far, the only animals observed on Merten's
carpet anemones were the Five-spot
anemone shrimps (Periclimines brevicarpalis) and the False
clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris).
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.
Pulau Jong, Apr 11
carpet anemones on Singapore shores
photos of merten's carpet anemones on Singapore shores