Stomotoca atra

Stomotoca atra

Author: Julia Traill

Common Name: Stomotoca atra

Order: Anthomedusae

Family: Pandeidae


Leuckartiara spp.

Leuckartiara spp.

Author: D. Young

Common Name: A member in the family Pandeidae within the order Anthomedusae of the subclass Hydromedusae.

Scientific NameLeuckartiara spp.

Total Length of Specimen in photo is 3cm (30mm).


Nanomia bijuga

Nanomia bijuga

Common Names: Siphonophore

Scientific Name: Nanomia bijuga

Size Range: Up to 30cm in total length

Nanomia bijuga belongs to the order Physonecta within the subclass Siphonophorae within the class Hydrozoa.

It is a predator that represents a colony of many genetically identical individuals called zooids that make up the whole.  It has a pigmented gas filled float called a pneumatophore at its tip.

Please come back – more information will be posted soon on this fascinating siphonophore!

Photos and video by D. Young

Crystal Jelly

Crystal Jelly

By Julia Traill

Size: Bell Diameter can be up to 25cm, though the size of this jellyfish can vary depending on where it is found.

Common name: Crystal Jelly

Scientific name: Aequorea spp. 

Identifying Features: They have many radial canals with more than one-hundred and fifty sticky tentacles that are laced with toxins that allow it to easily catch its varying prey. It also has gonads that follow along their radial canals. The base colour of these guys is white which is only enhanced by the bio-luminescence that rings around the bottom of their umbrella.

Habitat: The Leptomedusae can typically be found from spring to autumn in the pelagic waters of Vancouver BC’s Pacific Ocean to Central Californias waters.

Predators: Predators of the Crystal jellyfish are typically other vicious jellies such as the Lions Mane Jellyfish and others. Another technical predator of theirs would be humans, as they are used to conduct research in gthe medical field.

Food: For the most part these guys consume other soft bodied organisms like themselves. A few classes that they may eat are hydromedusae, ctenophores, polychaetes, and appendicularians. Chrystal jellyfish have the ability to consume other jellyfish that are twice their size and appear to prefer Comb Jellies over others. They are also known to be cannibalistic so when one keeps them they must ensure there is enough room.

Reproduction: Crystal jellyfish reproduce just like any other possible jellyfish as they can do so both sexually and asexually. They reproduce year-round leading to there being new Young Medusae a minimum of every two days. Their polyps also tend to live in colonies, and can live up to more than 2 years.

Fun Facts: Scientists harvest Crystal Jellyfish because their luminescent aequorin – also known as Fluorescent Green Protein, it is essentially what makes these jellyfish ‘glow’ a greeny blue.They use this to conduct experiments that helps us detect Calcium, neurological, and biological . It is also used in laboratories for clinical experiments on molecular,neurological, and biological research. Their Luminescent aequorin is also being studied so that it may eventually be used for early cancer detection. This glowing protein is also broadly used as a biological highlighter that really helps the speed up and over-all process of finding and studying genes.

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Short Plumose Anemone

Short Plumose Anemone

By Fraser Evans

Common name: Short Plumose Anemone

Scientific name: Metridium senile

Size: Roughly 4 inches

Identifying Features: The Plumose Anemone is usually short from about 2 inches to 4 inches but can get bigger. They’re commonly white or off orange in colour but depending on their living conditions the colours can become bright orange. The tentacles on the anemone are typically transparent but can be off white or orange.

Habitat: Anemones broadly can live in many conditions or habitats. From the tidal zone to up to 100 metres deep you can find these beautiful creatures. Though their preferred locations are exposed sites such as piers, walls, ropes docks or big rocks. Contrary to most sea creatures Plumose Anemones don’t mind brackish water. You can find these critters all over the oceans of the world but especially Alaska to southern California and the other side of North America on the Atlantic coast. Anemones also can be a habitat for other fish such as clown fish with a symbiotic relationship.

Predators: Not many animals attack the Plumose Anemone. In some cases star fishes have been known to eat large anemones. Also nudibranchs commonly eat the Plumose. When anemones are touched they will shrivel up as a defense mechanism.

Food: When small plankton, jellyfish, zooplankton or other small sea critters float by the anemone will reach out with its tentacles and use the nematocyst to poison the prey before proceeding to eat it. The anemones mouth and anus are the same.

Reproduction: Metridium can reproduce either sexually or asexually. Asexually it reproduces by pulling itself into two parts or ripping off pieces of itself and letting these turn into small anemones.  Sexually Plumose will reproduce by releasing its sperm or egg into the sea out of its mouth. Then the little fertilized eggs will grow into larvae which metamorphose into baby anemones.

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Painted Anemone

Painted Anemone

Authors:  Michael Adams and Daniel Barnaby

Common Name: Painted Anemone

Scientific Name: Urticina grebelnyi

Identifying Features

Urticina grebelnyi can be identified by the pink to white color’s on it’s tentacles, as well as raised bumps, referred to as non-adhesive vesicles, on it’s pedal column. Unlike the similar looking species Urticina crassicornis, that U.grebelnyi is often mistaken for, the column of U. crassicornis is smooth while that of U. gregelnyi has the raised bumps. They vary in color and often have green to light yellow patches covered in red blood-like markings. They have many tentacles that are banded red.


The Painted Anemone lives on the Pacific and north Atlantic coast in shallow and mid-tidal areas and under ledges and crevices. They can be found in small groups as well as large colonies that form carpets on the floor of the ocean.


Almost all anemones are carnivorous and using their tentacles they paralyze and consume any bypassing prey. U.grebelnyi in particular eats shrimp, krill, mussels, and fish.


The Painted Anemone’s natural predators are various species of nudibranches, sea stars, and snails. However it’s not completely defenseless. The tentacles that it uses for catching prey can also be used in self-defense, poisoning it’s enemies in time for it to escape using it’s pedal.

Life Cycle

When anemones reach adulthood the males release sperm and the females release eggs into the water.  The gametes travel in the current where the sperm fertilize the eggs. The fertilized egg then developes into a zygote, and then into a planula, a free-floating larval form of the anemone. The planula will settle on a rock or other solid surface where it grows into a polyp. The polyp looks much like the adult though it is smaller. With enough nutrition it will then grow into an adult, walking on it’s pedal to avoid predators or move to a preferred location and catching prey with it’s fully developed poison tentacles.

Photos by Michael Adams and David Young

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Moon Jellyfish

Moon Jellyfish

Author:  James Murray

Common name: Moon Jellyfish

Scientific name: Aurelia labiata

Size range: 25-40cm (9,8-15.8in)

Identifying Features: The Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia labiata) ranges from 25 to 40 cm (9.8 to 15.8 in) in diameter and can be easily recognized by the four horseshoe-shaped rings on its bell. A. labiata is not perfectly circular, but has multiple ridges around its bell between its rhopalia. It also has four oral arms leading up to its mouth and many short tentacles all around its bell. A. labiata may be confused with A. aurita, a closely related species found along the eastern Atlantic coast of Northern Europe and the western Atlantic coast of North America in New England and Eastern Canada.

Habitat: Moon jellyfish are found along the west coast of North America all the way from southern Alaska to southern California and as far out into the open ocean as Hawaii. Moon Jellyfish can be found up to 1000m (3280ft) below sea level in waters ranging from -6 to 31 degrees celsius; but often float near the surface, especially in bays and harbours. In the summer and through autumn, moon jelly fish are found in dense aggregations.

Food: A. labiata feeds mainly on zooplankton such as mollusks, crustaceans, fish eggs, and other small jellies. The plankton is caught on the mucus lining the bell of the jelly and is moved by cilia to the bell margin. From here, tentacles help funnel the food into the manubrium and stomach pouches at the top center of the bell. When starved, the moon jellyfish can shrink dramatically in size while still retaining functionality.

Predators: The main predators of the Moon Jellyfish include the Blue Rockfish, sea birds, turtles, and other cnidarians including the Lion’s Mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) and the Fried Egg jellyfish (Phacellophora camtschatica). The Moon jellyfish’s only hope to avoid predators is to sting them with the nematocysts on its tentacles, but these are only effective on small creatures.

Life Cycle: A. labiata  reproduce through internal fertilization. Males hold sperm filaments on their oral arms during mating season and these sperm are picked up by females. Sperm is carried to the females gastric pouch by cilliary currents. The female hold the fertilized eggs, which appear as grey clumps on the manubrium. The zygotes of A. labiata are brooded on the jelly’s manubrium in tear-drop shaped clumps. Eventually they are shaken off and continue their development after attaching to a substrate. Polyps usually strobilate in early spring, and the young medusa, called ehyra, mature very quickly. The adults spawn, and die by mid-summer or early fall; however, in certain places medusae are present all year.

Photography by Ali Isles

Video by D. Young

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Brooding Anemone

Brooding Anemone

By Maeve Leduc

Common name: Brooding Anemone

Scientific name: Epiactis prolifera

Size range: up to 5cm diameter, does not often exceed 3cm height

Identifying Features: Brooding anemone are often brown to greenish brown, and more rarely almost green, blue, red, pink or purple. One may see baby anemone brooding off the base of a full grown adult which grow up to 5cm in diameter and 3cm tall. Oral disk often marked with radiating white lines, along with the pedal disk and column. On the anterior end, or top of the body you will find the mouth and stinging tentacles.

Habitat: One can find Brooding anemone in subtidal zones, rock benches, surge channels, near crustose coralline algae and other places where they won’t be carried away by disturbances in the sea. They may also be found on leaves of eelgrass which you will see in the picture, although to find red or pink Brooding anemone on eelgrass is rare. Most anemones will spend their whole lives in one place, but if desired they can hitch a ride on hermit or decorator crabs.

Food: Anemones on crabs is a great example of mutualism, while the anemone is protecting the crab and getting a free ride, they can also pick up bits and pieces of food from their messy eating habits. Otherwise, they mainly feed on crustaceans like shrimp and krill. They capture their prey with their stinging tentacles, paralyzing the creature with their thousands of stinging cells located in their stalk and tentacles. Then the Brooding anemone slowly moves the prey down to their mouth where they devour it whole.

Predators: Not many animals will try to feed on Brooding anemones because they attach themselves to their location with their suctioned tube feet and their tentacles and stalk are filled with thousands of stinging cells. But the nudibranches prevail, they’re not only immune to their stinging cells but they can actually take them for their own defense after digesting the anemone. To avoid being seen or easily attacked the anemone will contract at the tiniest threatening disturbance.

Life Cycle: Brooding anemones are hermaphroditic creatures. Their eggs are fertilized in the digestive cavity, and once hatched will swim down to the base of the parent and attach themselves there until they’re big enough to go off on their own and feed themselves.

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Pacific Sea Nettle

Common name: Pacific Sea Nettle

Authors: Stephanie Hurst & Chelsea Dinh

Scientific name: Chrysaora fuscescens

Size range: Between 10 to 15 feet in length.

Identifying features:

The Pacific Sea Nettle has a bell with a diameter of approximately 17.7 inches (45 cm), and arms which range between 12 to 15 feet (3.6 to 4.8 m) in length; this cnidarian has 24 flowing feather-like tentacles, and four oral arms. Regarding unique markings, the Sea Nettle’s bell’s overall color ranges between yellow to maroon, and may also have sporadic stripes strewn across the surface.


This Sea Nettle lives widespread across the Pacific Ocean, but can range from Alaska to the Philippines; lingering near the surface of the waters during the winter, and in the depths of the sea in the spring/summer. Occasionally the Sea nettle becomes a way of transportation for young cancer crabs, and larvae which adhere to the top of the Sea Nettle, hitching a ride to a more favorable spot.


The main predators of the Pacific Sea Nettle are Sea Turtles and the Ocean Sunfish. To defend against a threat, minor or large, the Sea Nettle stings whatever comes in contact with its tentacles.

Life Cycle:

The Pacific Sea Nettle reproduces externally, where the eggs then hatch in the open waters of the ocean where they adhere to an area of the ocean floor. The “larvae” then develop in to a “polyp” through an asexual process, where miniature medusas form in to a plant-like structure; the medusas later bud off in to the open waters, where they continue to develop in to adult Sea Nettles.

Aquarium Photos and video by Stephanie Hurst and Chelsea Dinh

Wild Photos and video by D. Young

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Orange Sea Pen

Orange Sea Pen

Author:  Marissa Toner

Common name: Orange Sea Pen

Scientific name: Ptilosarcus gurneyi

Size range: up to 48cm (19 inches) tall

Sea Pens are completely underwater animals so you won’t find them in any waters under 10 meters at least.  They prefer deep water and are usually found at depths that range from 45 to 225ft. They burrow their stalks into the mud or substrate on the sea floor, but for the first part of their life after fertilization they actually float in the water before planting themselves in the sea floor. Sea Pens can often be found in abundance in harbors, sheltered areas close to shore off in deeper waters but they are located all over the world! They can be found in the Pacific and Indian oceans, or in Europe and Mediterranean.

Life Cycle
Sea Pens are made up of colonies of polyps that are separate sexes. Some of the polyps are male and some are female. Fertilization takes place outside the Sea Pen.  The eggs and sperm are released and meet in the water. Once the egg is fertilized it will develop into a larva which will actually float in the water for a short time before rooting into the seafloor. They can grow very old; more than 100 years and the age can be indicated by growth rings (much like a tree).

Sea Pens are given their name based on their shape: named after old style writing quills the Sea Pen lives up to its name. It is shaped very much like a feather. Its long and slender (made from the primary polyp) and has feather-like branches (made up from the secondary polyps). They stand upright and occur in a variety of colours but most are orange.

Feeding Habits
Sea Pens have limited ways to feed considering how they maneuver themselves into the sand and are permanently stuck there.  They feed through passive predation catching food such as zooplankton with the tentacles of their polyps.  As a result their main way to adsorb nutrition is through this form of suspension feeding.

The main predators of the sea star are nudibranch’s and sea stars. The types of nudibranch’s that attack the Sea Pen are Armina loveni, Tritonia festiva and Hermissenda crassicornis. The Armina Loveni are specialized for hunting the Sea Pen. Other Predators of the Sea Pen are prawn trawlers and dredgers, because as mentioned before they can be found in man-made harbors as well as along the ocean floor just where these prawn trawlers would be. To protect themselves they will burrow into the dirt or force water out of themselves.

Sea pens have very limited ways of protecting and expressing themselves but they do have a few technique. First of all when threatened they can push water out and burrow into the sand to protect themselves. One odd thing they can do though is project a luminescent green liquid if they are disturbed!

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