sea pens text index | photo index
Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Alcyonaria/Octocorallia > Order Pennatulacea
Sea pencil
Lituaria sp.
Family Veretillidae
updated Dec 2019

Where seen? Resembling a white nose inhaler, this colony of animals on a stick is often seen on some of our Northern shores. Among seagrasses and in sandy areas near seagrasses. Sometimes in large numbers, especially in the dark. At sunrise, most are retracted into the ground. Elsewhere, these sea pens are found in deeper waters.

Features: 4-10cm long. Cylindrical white primary polyp that is stiff with a blunt rounded tip. No leaf-like structures. The secondary polyps emerge directly from the primary polyp and are transparent with long body columns (about 1cm) and long branched tentacles.

Changi, May 11

Changi, May 11

Chek Jawa, Jul 05

Half dead specimen washed ashore.

Skeleton of the central stalk
Changi, May 06
Pencil snacks? The Armina nudibranch eats sea pens, and sometimes, they can be seen near sea pencils.

Painted porcelain crab seen on a Sea pencil.
Changi, Oct 07
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on flickr.

Armina nudibranch next to a sea pencil.
Changi, Jun 05

Armina nudibranchs next to a Sea pencil.
Changi, Jul 20
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Sea pencils on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Coney Island, Jun 18
Photo shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

Pulau Ubin, Jul 17
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Tanah Merah, Aug 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Jun 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Tuas, Dec 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Grateful thanks to Dr. Bjorn Berning and Dr Dennis P. Gordon for identifying this sea pen.



  • Erhardt, Harry and Daniel Knop. 2005. Corals: Indo-Pacific Field Guide IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 305 pp.
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