Stichodactyla mertensii   Brandt  1835 (Sea Anemone)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Anthozoa

Image copyrights: FLMNH

Size: Diameter 1 m or even more

Color: Tan to white column with longitudinal rows of verrucae pigmented magenta or orange (which appear purplish at depth). Short tentacles all color of the oral disc, sometimes with narrow white basal portion; long ones may be white-, yellow-, or green-ended.

This anemone holds the record for oral disc diameter (shape is often more ovoid than circular). Broadly flared oral disc lies smoothly over substratum, following its contours, or undulating slightly, held open by verrucae adhering to underlying coral or rocks, which may be related to this anemone's living only on hard surfaces, often reef slopes. No verrucae below wide upper column, but splotches of pigment continue down short, narrow column in more or less longitudinal streaks. Small pedal disc frequently attached in crevice into which animal can retract (although not rapidly). Tentacles, of uniform diameter, blunt-ended or pointed. Non-adhesive tentacles club-shaped to finger-like, all may be short (10-20 mm long), or some (in patches) very long (to 50 mm or more). Tan oral disc almost entirely covered with tentacles; yellow or greenish tentacle-free oral area 20-50 mm diameter. Symbiotic fishes may be melanistic.

Found in association with zooxanthellae and several kinds of animals which include the three spot damsel Dascyllus trimaculatus, the porcelain crab (Neopetrolisthes oshimai) and anemonefishes like Amphiprion akallopisos, Amphiprion chrysogaster, Amphiprion clarkii, Amphiprion ocellaris, Amphiprion polymnus and Amphiprion sandaracinos.

Synonym (s)
Stichodactyla mertensii Br.
(Ambiguous synonym)
Stichodactyla mertensii Brandt
(Ambiguous synonym)
Stoichactis giganteum
(Ambiguous synonym)
Stoichactis giganteum Forskal
(Ambiguous synonym)
Stoichactis giganteum Forsskal
(Ambiguous synonym)

Common Name (s)
• Mertens Sea Anemone (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Reef Associated


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA (Record: 2000-2005)

Literature Source(s)
  • Madhu, R and Madhu, K (2007) Occurrence of anemonefishes and host sea anemones in Andaman and Nicobar Islands Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 49(2) 118-126 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Guardini, M and Boyer, M World database of marine species Available at -
  • Bisby, FA; Roskov, YR; Orrell, TM; Nicolson, D; Paglinawan, LE; Bailly, N; Kirk, PM; Bourgoin, T and Baillargeon, G (Eds.) (2009) Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2009 Annual Checklist Available at -
  • Guardini, M and Boyer, M World database of marine species Available at -
  • Fautin, DG and Allen, GR (1992) Sea anemones Field guide to anemone fishes and their host sea anemones Available at -
  • Florida Museum of Natural History Available at -

Page last updated on:2009-06-17

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