sea pens text index | photo index
Phylum Cnidaria > Class Anthozoa > Subclass Alcyonaria/Octocorallia > Order Pennatulacea
Sea pencil
Lituaria sp.
Family Veretillidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This white stick-like colony of animals 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.

Pencil snacks? Sometimes, the Armina nudibranch (Armina sp.) is found burrowing near sea pencils. Sometimes more than one of these nudibranchs are found near one sea pencil.

Changi, May 11

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

Changi, May 11

Chek Jawa, Jul 05

Skeleton of the central stalk
Changi, May 06

Half dead specimen washed ashore.
Changi, May 06

Armina nudibranchs are often found near it.
Changi, Jun 05

*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

Photos of Sea pencils for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

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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