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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 257:291-294 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/meps257291

First evidence for coloniality in sea anemones

Verena Häussermann1,2,*, Günter Försterra2

1Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Münchhausenstraße 21, 81247 Munich, Germany
2Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Department II Biologie, Karlstrasse 23-25, 80333 Munich, Germany

ABSTRACT: Sea anemones, a conspicuous group of marine benthic invertebrates, are considered to be strictly solitary animals. This is in contrast to almost all other orders of the class Anthozoa, which have colony-forming members, the best known examples being reef-building corals. Here we show that the sagartiid sea anemone Cereus herpetodes (McMurrich, 1904) from Chile forms flabello-meandroid colonies through intratentacular budding, a feature hitherto known only from stony corals. This finding sheds new light upon the debated evolution of Anthozoa and the principles of colony formation within this group.

KEY WORDS: Colony · Solitary · Actiniaria · Anthozoa · Polystomodaeal intramural intratentacular budding · Fission · Cereus herpetodes · Chile

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