Metridium giganteum Fautin, Bucklin, and Hand, 1989
Common name(s): Giant plumose anemone
|Synonyms: Metridium marginatum|
|Metridium giganteum on a dock at Anacortes, with some M. senile nearby. Height about 15 cm, crown diameter about 13 cm.|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles Nov 2005)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Metridium senile has a similar form and coloration but grows only up to about 10 cm tall, has less than 100 tentacles, and the oral disk is not prominently lobed.
Geographical Range: Alaska to Santa Catalina Island, CA. Especially common in Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, and the Strait of Georgia.
Depth Range: Subtidal to at least 200 m; occasionally found intertidally.
Habitat: Attached to rocks, floating docks, and pilings.
Biology/Natural History: These anemones live many years. This species does not seem to reproduce asexually, as does M. senile. It is said to be solitary, but I have frequently seen it in aggregations on Sares Head, though perhaps not as tightly packed together as one sees with M. senile on docks. The acontia do not sting the skin but could definitely sting the eyes or tongue. This species, which can be up to 1 m tall when extended, is said to be the world's tallest polyp.
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Brusca and Brusca, 1978
Gotshall and Laurent, 1979
Johnson and Snook, 1955 (as Metridium dianthus)
McConnaughey and McConnaughey, 1985
Morris et al., 1980
O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
Ricketts et al., 1985
Fautin, D.G., A. Bucklin, and C. Hand, 1989. Systematics of sea anemones belonging to the genus Metridium (Coelenterata: Actiniaria), with a description of M. giganteum, new species. Wasmann J. Biol. 47: 77-85
These two individuals have been disturbed and have released threadlike acontia.
The individual on the left has released the acontia from the mouth, while the one on the left has released an acontium from a pore in the body wall.