- Cnidaria -

Actinoscyphia sp. (Venus fly-trap anemone)

Cnidaria (Phylum) > Anthozoa (Class) > Hexacorallia (Subclass)

Actiniaria (Order) > Actinoscyphiidae (Family)

Known as the “Venus fly-trap anemone” because it has some

resemblance to the carnivorous terrestrial plant, Actinoscyphia

can modify its base to grasp structures upon which it attaches.

This is demonstrated in these images, particularly where it

is attached to the stalk of a glass sponge (it can also be found

attached to rocks). It was uncommon during field work off

Tanzania but observations at 1370 m and 2400 m suggest it is

likely to be found throughout the study area. There are records

of the genus Actinoscyphia in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

but until these observations, none in the Indian Ocean.

There is discussion in the scientific literature about this animal’s

taxonomy. The group it belongs to has structures called

acontia, thread-like extensions rich in stinging cells. These are

absent from Actinoscyphia sp. and a few other species in the

group. Genetic evidence supports its affinity with the acontia

bearing species and it is suggested that they may have been lost.

A yellow anemone (lower image) was encountered on several

occasions at 1600 m but does not resemble other images

closely, and may be from a different taxonomic group.


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