Epiactis fernaldi Fautin and Chia, 1986

Common name(s): Fernald brooding anemone

Phylum Cnidaria
 Class Anthozoa
   Subclass Zoantharia (Hexacorallia)
    Order Actiniaria
     Family Actiniidae
Epiactis fernaldi, photo taken at Friday Harbor Laboratories courtesy of Lisbeth Francis.
Diameter of oral disk approximately 1.5 cm.
(Identified by Lisbeth Francis.  Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2006)
Description:    This anemone has no acontia, no tubercles or major adherent material on the column.  Neither oral disk nor pedal disk have radiating lines.  There may be darker pigmented lines between the tentacles (as seen above), associated with the internal mesenteries.  Broods young internally.  Mid- to high intertidal, mostly in caves and surge channels shaded by logs.  May be drab green, brick red, dark orange, or deep mustard; sometimes with lighter or darker spots.  Note: Epiactis fernaldi has only been observed in the San Juan Archipelago.  The only individuals in the sole known remaining population (photo) are 2 cm or less in diameter.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:  Other local Epiactis species usually have radiating white lines on the oral disk and dark vertical lines on the column.  Small Epiactis prolifera may look similar especially when closed (photo), but that species often has small young along its external column which are not seen in this species which broods internally.

Geographical Range:  San Juan Islands

Depth Range:   Intertidal

Habitat:  Caves and shaded surge channels

Biology/Natural History:  Broods young internally.

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Dichotomous Keys:
  Kozloff 1987, 1996

General References:

Scientific Articles:
Edmands, Suzanne, 1995.  Mating systems in the sea anemone genus Epiactis.  Marine Biology 123: 723-733

Fautin, Daphne G and Chia, Fu-Shiang, 1986.  Revision of sea anemone genus Epiactis (Coelenterata: Actiniaria) on the Pacific coast of North America, with descriptions of two new brooding species.  Canadian Journal of Zoology 64:8  1665-1674

Web sites:

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:

These are several individuals from the sole known remaining population of Epiactis fernaldi, on the west coast of San Juan Island.
Their diameters are from about 1 to 1.5 cm.  They are found in a shaded rock cleft and sea cave.
Photo by Dave Cowles, identification by Lisbeth Francis.

This side view of a tiny individual (diameter approx. 0.5 cm) shows the lack of lines on the side of the column.
The base of the tentacles is usually white.
Photo by Dave Cowles, identification by Lisbeth Francis.

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2005):  Created original page
Edited 2006