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. Continue reading “105/150: Sea pens – not your typical corals”

99/150: Lampshells – Watt do you mean it’s not a mussel?

Animalia: Brachiopoda: Rhynchonellata: Terebratulida: Terebratellidae: Terebrataliinae: Terebratalia: Terebratalia transversa (Sowerby, 1846)

Lampshells, including Terebratalia transversa, belong to the phylum Brachiopoda, which translates to arm-foot in Greek. Brachiopods have been around for millions of years, dominating the oceans in the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), but now have a smaller distribution and are known as living fossils as some species have survived for millions of years unchanged. Continue reading “99/150: Lampshells – Watt do you mean it’s not a mussel?”

81/150: This species is just peachy!

Animalia: Chordata: Ascidiacea: Stolidobranchia: Pyuridae: Halocynthia: Halocynthia pyriformis (Linnaeus)

Sea peaches are part of the class of invertebrates Ascidiacea – known as sea squirts or tunicates. They are more closely related to chordates (animals with a back bone) than other invertebrates because at some point in their life stage they exhibit vertebrate characteristics such as a dorsal hollow nerve cord, a notochord, a post-anal tail, and pharyngeal slits. However they never develop a bony backbone. Continue reading “81/150: This species is just peachy!”

64/150: Birds of the Sea

Animalia: Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comatulida: Antedonidae: Heliometrinae: Florometra: Florometra serratissima (AH Clark, 1907)

While you wouldn’t think birds would be able to exist in the ocean, the common feather star Florometra serratissima could very well be considered the bird of the sea! They are able to move around either by grasping terrain with their claw-like cirri or by swimming through the water with their feather-like arms. Continue reading “64/150: Birds of the Sea”

54/150: Imagine a worm 60 metres long!

Animalia: Nemertea: Enopla: Monostilifera: Emplectonematidae: Paranemertes: Paranemertes peregrina (Coe, 1901)

Nemertea, also known as “ribbon worm” is a phylum of marine invertebrate worm-like animals that are characterized by their eversible proboscis. The proboscis is used to catch prey and comes out of the nemertean’s body and stabs its prey with a venomous tip. Continue reading “54/150: Imagine a worm 60 metres long!”