Tag Archive: Invertebrates

Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda,
Order: Nudibranchia (sea slugs)
Family Tethydidae

Genus/ species: Melibe leonina

YouTube VIDEO  http://youtu.be/Xe2bM2kKm-U

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color a translucent gray, greenish-gray, or yellowish-gray, with opaque brown hepatic diverticula. Melibe leonina has 4-6 pairs of large, leaflike or paddlelike cerata in two rows down its dorsum and a large oral hood with two rows of filiform tentacles around its margin.

Length up to 102 mm long (4 in), 25 mm (1 in) wide, and 51 mm (2 in) across the expanded oral hood.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: West coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California in eelgrass beds, kelp (especially Macrocystis) beds, harbors. When swimming it is usually upside-down, and undulates back and forth.

DIET:  M. leonina feeds on Copepods, amphipods, and ostracods, as well as small post-larval mollusks. They firmly attache itself to a kelp blade and then sweeps its raised hood downward or to the side. When food lands on the lower surface of the hood, the melibe sweeps together the two sides of the hood, and its fringing tentacles lock in the prey. The hood contracts to force the captured food into the M. leonine’s mouth.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT:  M. leonine are hermaphrodites (they have both male and female sexual organs), and fertilization is internal. The animal can lay as many as 30,000 eggs, which are enclosed in a long, gelatinous ribbon.

REMARKS:  Noxious secretions of the melibe smell like watermelon, according to aquarists. They are gregarious animals and probably use it to keep together as well as for defense.  Most predators avoid the noxious secretions of nudibranchs; but the kelp crab is an exception. 

This species has been used for neurological research.



California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Water is Life 2019

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-fW

Ron’s flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608597736188/

Monterey Bay Aquarium www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/invertebrates/me…

EOL eol.org/pages/454874/details


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda (crayfish, crabs, lobsters, prawns, and shrimp)
Infraorder: Caridea
Family: Hymenoceridae

Genus/species: Hymenocera picta

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Pinkish white body color with splashes of purple-edged pink spots. Stalked eyes and antennae flattened and leaf-shaped.

Length up to 5 cm (2 inches)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Along the shores of East Africa, the Red Sea, to Indonesia, south to northern Australia and as far east as the Galapagos. Found on hard rocky or coral substrates, with lots of hiding places.


DIET IN THE WILD: It is a nocturnal feeder hunting in pairs for sea stars, using its claws to pry sea stars off coral reefs flipping them on their back. They then take them to their dwelling-place on the reef, where they consume their the tube feet of sea stars.

Harlequin Shrimps eating a Linka Seastar below

REMARKS: H. picta is known to feed on crown-of-thorns sea stars, so perhaps it should be considered a reef preservationists.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef

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ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hymenocera_picta/classificat…

EOL eol.org/pages/126747/details

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Actiniaria
Family: Stichodactylidae

Genus/species: Stichodactyla tapetum  (aka Discosoma tapetum in the past)


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Tentacles are short bulbous variegated in a multicolored pattern and densely packed. They are often arrayed in fields on the entire disc. 

Diameter is up to 4 inches.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: S. tapetum are found in the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea covering the sand or reef like a carpet.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feed primarily on nutrients of symbiotic zooxanthellae living in their tissues as well as drifting plankton. 

REMARKS:  They are not known to host clown fish, but they are attractive to anemone shrimp and anemone crabs. In the wild, they are favored by Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis) and Periclimenes spp. commensal shrimps.

They can give a potent sting if touched.



California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef 2018

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Stichodactyla_tapetum/classi…

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Caridea
Family: Hippolytidae

Genus/species: Thor amboinensis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Base body color is drab (olive or brown), with iridescent yellow-white spots bordered by thin white and blue bands, symmetrically arranged over their bodies. The distinctive vertical position and movement of the abdomen earn this shrimp its common name of “sexy.”

Length up to 2 cm. (0.8 inches)



Length up to 2 cm. (0.8 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Common in tropical seas worldwide. Found in Coral reefs; in association with anemones such as form symbiotic relationships with anemones such as Entacmaea quadricolor, Macrodactyla doreensis, Stichodactyla tapetum, and Zoanthus sp., living on and around their oral discs, tentacles, or substrate very near to anemone bases.

Sexy shrimp4104005971_290c048ff2_o
DIET IN THE WILD: Sexy shrimp are carnivorous feeding on matter trapped in a host anemone’s mucus, including plankton. Their diet may also include other small crustaceans, such as brine shrimp and krill. When resources are scarce, shrimp may resort to feeding on the tentacles of their hosts.

REPRODUCTION: These shrimp are protandric hermaprhodites; they are born male and may change into females later in life.
Mating is polygynandrous (promiscuous) T. amboinensis are sexually dimorphic. Males are typically smaller than females and have white spots on their pleopods (appendages). During copulation, a male transfers sperm cells from his gonopores (located on his fifth pereopods) to a female’s gonopores (on her third pereopods).
Females carry, and oxygenate eggs under their forward tail section, on the pleopods. While bearing eggs, they hold their legs under the tail to protect them.


Lifespan ave. 3.5 years


REMARKS: Sexy shrimp are known to vibrate their abdomen to signal or warn others. They are capable of moving very quickly, at rates of 10-15 cm/s, to escape perceived threats.

They will endure the attacks from the anemones’ nematocysts. Some studies state that a shrimp acclimates to an anemone by collecting its mucus, which camouflages it from the anemone or other studies say that a shrimp acclimates by building up chemicals that inhibit the excretions of nematocysts from anemones.


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Hidden Reef 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3574925860/in/album-72157659465376212/

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Thor_amboinensis/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Jv

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Clade: Vetigastropoda
Superfamily: Trochoidea
Family: Turbinidae

Genus/specie: Megastraea undosa

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Wavy Turbin Snail has a heavy, sculptured shell with undulating ridges in a turbinate-conical shape with a thick, pearly lining.
The light brown or tan shell color is caused by the fibrous periostracum covered with coralline algae and other epiphytes.

Size: up to 6 inches

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Point Conception and the coastal Channel Islands to northern Baja California, Mexico. They range from the intertidal zone down to depths of over 250 feet.

DIET IN THE WILD: M. undosa are herbivores feeding on various types of algae.

REPRODUCTION; Year around with peaks in spring and fall.

CONSERVATION: Because wavy turban snails are hand-picked by divers, the fishery is at low risk for bycatch .
Wavy turban snails are abundantly available and have a high productivity rate, so over- harvesting is less likely.

REMARKS: The shells of wavy turban snails are used to make buttons!

The meat has an abalone-like texture and taste; foot of the snail is processed and sold to restaurants as an abalone-like product, “wav alone”.  They can be prepared many ways: grilled, sautéed, battered and fried, in pastas, in chowders and soups, and in stir fries.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Tidepool 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/34539982943/in/dateposted-public/

Spearboard.com www.spearboard.com/showthread.php?t=99314

U of CA San Diego caseagrant.ucsd.edu/sites/default/files/fact-sheet-wavy-t…

Gastropods.com www.gastropods.com/2/Shell_292.shtml

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Saturniidae

Genus/species: Rothschildia lebeau

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Wings are reddish-brown with an olive tinge. The four clear spots or four windows give it its Spanish name cuatro ventanars. It may live as a pupa for two or three years before becoming an adult which does not eat in their short lifetime.

Wing Span: 9 – 12.5 cm (3 1/2 – 4 15/16 in)

DISTRIBUTION: Southern Texas To South America. Found in thorn scrub,


California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Level 3 2017 Vetting Tim Wong

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Butterflies and Moths of North America  www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Rothschildia-lebeau

Ohio State Univ. bugguide.net/node/view/151823

Chicago Botanical Garden  www.chicagobotanic.org/butterflies/rothschild_silkmoth

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Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Subclass: Hexacorallia
Order: Corallimorpharia
Family: Corallimorphidae

Genus/species: Corynactis sp.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Note ball tipped tentacles. 




DISTRIBUTION: Tropical Indian, Central and Western Pacific Oceans

HABITAT: Reef associated

DIET: Small fish and zooplankton

REMARKS: This close relative of sea anemones has sticky ball-tipped tentacles.  Some species of shrimps and fish are immune to the stickiness and live within the tentacles.

Corallimorpharia (Corallimorph) is an order of marine cnidarians closely related to the true sea anemones (Actiniaria). They are mostly tropical, with a narrow column topped with a wide oral disc. The tentacles are usually short or very short, arranged in rows radiating from the mouth. Many species occur together in large groups. In many respects, they resemble the stony corals, except for the absence of a stony skeleton. 


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef 2017 AQA17 Charles Delbeek

EOL eol.org/pages/75554/names

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Scleractinia
Family: Faviidae

Genus: Caulastrea sp.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Stony coral with a lightweight phaceloid skeleton which gives rise to plump circular polyps clustered on the end of branched stalks. Colors vary, usually green or brown.

 Caulastrea sp.32548578421_33e20ddf0b_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Indo-West Pacific in tropical, protected, shallow reef slopes where the substrate is partly sandy,

REPRODUCTION: Can be easily fragmented and also reproduce by budding.

Remarks: One of the most remarkable and ecologically important features of these corals is that the polyps secrete a hard skeleton, called a ‘corallite’, which over successive generations contributes to the formation of a coral reef. The coral skeleton forms the bulk of the colony, with the living polyp tissue comprising only a thin veneer.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart, Color on the Reef AQA17

Aquarium Corals E H Borneman TFH Publications 2001 pages 285-286.

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32548578421/in/album-72157659465376212/

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Arkive: www.arkive.org/caulastrea/caulastrea-furcata/


Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Anthozoa
Subclass: Hexacorallia
Order: Actiniaria
Family: Actinodendronidae

Genus/species: Actinodendron plumosum

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Hell’s Fire Anemone is poorly described. It looks more like a coral than and anemone. The color of  A. plumosum can be light yellowish-green, tan, brown, light green or gray. They have an oral disc that is drawn out into branched tentacles tipped with white swellings resembling globular spheres. Their tree like shape is unique in comparison to other anemones. Size: up to 12″ (30 cm).

Hell fire anemone31862717602_e9e55aaff4_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific on coral rich slopes and drop offs with coral gravel, or in shallow sandy and muddy areas. They bury their foot and body into the substrate and adhere their foot to hard surfaces underneath, having only their oral disc and tentacles emerging. When disturbed they can retract their entire body into the sand and be virtually invisible.

REMARKS: The sting from these anemones can damage and even kill other corals and fish. They use their very powerful and venomous nematocyst found in their tentacles to sting and deflect any possible threats or attacks, as well as for capturing prey. In humans the stings can cause ulcers at the site which last for months.



California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef AQA17  2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/31862717602/in/album-72157659465376212/

EOL eol.org/pages/421192/details#habitat

Animal-World  animal-world.com/Aquarium-Coral-Reefs/Hells-Fire-Anemone

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Actiniaria
Family: Actiniidae (the largest family of sea anemones)

Genus/species: Entacmaea quadricolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Bubbletip Sea Anemone has an adherent base which attaches to the shape of the substratum. At the top of the column is a flattened oral disc with an oval mouth in the middle. The oral disc and column are smooth and brown, green, or occasionally a fluorescent reddish-orange. Tentacles are up to 10 cm (4 inches) length, often but not always inflated and balloonlike at the tips. 

Length up to 40 cm (16 inches)

Bubble tip anemone5389669474_fb02a667dc_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Indo-Pacific, usually in deep crevices with only the tentacles visible.

Bubble tip anemone16122486362_7ee3a9b81d_o

DIET IN THE WILD: E. quadricolor obtains the majority of its energy from solar radiation via its symbiotic zooxanthellae.
Thet are also opportunistic carnivores that capture prey using cnidocytes on their tentacles which contain many “stinging organs” known as nematocysts (or cnidae).

REPRODUCTION: Bubbletip Sea Anemones are broadcast spawners releasing gametes directly into water.

The most common means of asexual reproduction for these anemones is called longitudinal fission, which amounts to them splitting down the middle to make two anemones from one. When it reproduces it will begin to pinch in at two points opposite each other on their base. Then the indentions will draw closer until it splits in two.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Not Evaluated

REMARKS: They are symbiotic with many species of anemonefishes, such as the common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

E. quadricolor has obligate photosynthetic zooxanthellae, brown algae, which live inside the anemone acting as a carbon and nitrogen source.

This anemone also exhibits biofluorescence.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef 2017 AQA16

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The University of Queensland


SeaLifebase www.sealifebase.org/summary/Entacmaea-quadricolor.html



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