#Biodiversity150 number 105 of 150 Sea Pen

105/150: Sea pens – not your typical corals

Animalia: Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Pennatulacea: Pennatulidae: Pennatula: Pennatula aculeata (Danielssen, 1860)

Sea pens are colonial marine cnidarians found worldwide and normally at depths greater than 10 meters. Sea pens prefer deeper waters because they can avoid uprooting due to water turbulence. They live most of their lives in a sessile (immobile) state, however they can relocate and anchor themselves in more desirable areas where steadier streams of their food source, plankton, might be found. Pennatula aculeata is a gonochoric species (having distinct male and female individuals), however each individual is anything but ‘individual’; they are colonial animals. The colonies consist of multiple polyps working together on a single supporting stalk. Each individual assumes a role of either water siphon or feeding polyp and are joined at the stalk, which is actually a modified polyp itself that traded out tentacles for a bulbous anchoring root (peduncle). Imagine if each of your limbs were its own entity! #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Specimen MLI-057 – Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada – 10-Aug-2013. Photo Credit: Kathryn Hotke, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Pennatula aculeata in its natural environment. Photo Credit: United States Geological Survey goo.gl/7hysMX

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: KHA508-14

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Sea Pen

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:ACM3244

Title Image: A different species of sea pen from Vancouver Island, Canada
Photo Credit: Ed Bierman goo.gl/Ewscj1