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Factors controlling the tentacle and polyp expansion behaviour of selected temperate Anthozoa
Bell, J.J.; Shaw, C.; Turner, J.R. (2006). Factors controlling the tentacle and polyp expansion behaviour of selected temperate Anthozoa. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 86(5): 977-992
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Circadian rhythms; Environmental factors; Polyps; Temperate zones; Tentacles; Anthozoa [WoRMS]; ANE, Eire, Munster, Cork, Hyne L. [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bell, J.J.
  • Shaw, C.
  • Turner, J.R.

    Although the factors influencing patterns of expansion and contraction of polyps and tentacles for tropical anthozoans has been well described there is still little information for temperate species. This study investigated the patterns of tentacle and polyp expansion behaviour of nine species of temperate Anthozoa in response to current flow, turbulence, food availability and time of day (light) at Lough Hyne Marine Nature Reserve (Ireland). In the absence of current flow, Metridium senile, Caryophyllia smithii, Alcyonium hibernicum and Corynactis viridis exhibited nocturnal expansion of polyps or tentacles with contraction occurring in the daytime, while Alcyonium digitatum, Actinia equina and Cerianthus lloydii showed no differences between light and dark periods. The symbiont containing species Anthopleura ballii and Anemonia viridis expanded or raised their tentacles during daylight hours (tentacle contraction is not possible for A. viridis), although in shallow waters (3m) Anthopleura ballii tentacles were contracted at midday (highest light levels) presumably to prevent damage from ultraviolet radiation. The contraction of tentacles during light periods was considered a predator avoidance response since zooplankton availability did not vary between light and dark periods, while predator abundance (particularly fish) is greater during daylight. Even though M. senile, Alcyonium hibernicum and Corynactis viridis showed little expansion during daylight periods in the absence of current flow, tentacles and polyps were expanded at midday during periods of high current flow. A greater number of expanded polyps and tentacles were also recorded for A. digitatum, Anemonia viridis and Cerianthus loydii during high flow conditions compared with periods of low/no flow (Caryophyllia smithii not examined). Actinia equina only exhibited tentacle expansion in response to the creation of a turbulent flow regime, which was determined from laboratory observations. Since species demonstrating contraction during daylight in the absence of current flow expanded their tentacles and polyps when subjected to high current flow, the need for feeding appears to be more important than predator avoidance in controlling expansion behaviour.

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