species is one of the
few Corallimorph cnidarians found in our area, and the only one in
key. Corallimorphs are not true anemones. The most obvious
is that their tentacles end in knobs (club-tipped tentacles), as are
in the picture above. The tentacles are not fully retractile,
are usually white. Corallimorphs are also very similar to
in some other characters, but lack the hard coral skeleton.
species is often found in groups, with individuals up to 2 cm long or
more (photo) (average height and
diameter is 1 cm).
May be colored red, crimson, pink, purple, pale blue, lavender, brown,
orange, buff, or nearly white.
Corynactis californica Carlgren,
Common name(s): Strawberry
anemone, California club-ray
|A cluster of Corynactis californica
at the Monterey Bay Aquarium,
CA. Polyps are 1 to 1.5 cm diameter.
|Photo by: Dave Cowles,
How to Distinguish from
Similar Species: There
are no other anemone-like species in our area with club-tipped
The orange cup coral Balanophyllia
elegans is of similar size and often similar color (photo)
but has a hard skeleton and does not have club-tipped tentacles.
Range: This species is
said to be common in some areas of southern California but I have not
encountered it. It occurs from British Columbia to San Martin
Baja California but is rarely found intertidally north of California.
Intertidal to 30 m
shores (under rock
ledges), concrete wharf pilings, plastic foam floats.
where there are strong currents.
History: The knobbed
tentacles contain very large cnidae, easy to view under the
Undischarged cnidae have osmotic pressures up to 140
Has been observed in the lab to defend against attack by Anthopleura
by extending its cnidae-rich mesenteries through the mouth.
species reproduces asexually by longitudinal fission. Clones
all the same color. Feeds on copepods, nauplius larvae, and
and Carlton, 1975
and Laurent, 1979
et al., 1980
General Notes and
Observations: Locations, abundances,
unusual behaviors, etc.:
Since they do not have a solid skeleton as does Balanophyllia
elegans, the polyps can stretch out quite tall, as
seen in this
photo. Taken at Monterey Bay Aquarium by Dave Cowles, August
These individuals from the Monterey Bay Aquarium show another color
variation--strongly white tentacles.
This view shows Corynactis californica in front and
cup coral Balanophyllia
elegans in the back, to show their similarities and
Note the empty skeletons of Balanophyllia
elegans encrusting the rock. Photo at
Monterey Bay Aquarium
by Dave Cowles, August 2010.
Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2002): Created original page
Edited by Dave Cowles, 2005