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Macrodactyla doreensis (Quoy et Gaimard, 1833)

(photo of Ryanskiy Andrey, Russia. Specimen from Indonesia, Bali and Lembe):
Macrodactyla doreensis

Macrodactyla doreensis

(photo of Sergey Taranchenko, Russia. Specimen in reef tank)
Macrodactyla doreensis

Macrodactyla doreensis


Original figure of Macrodactyla doreensis (originally named as Actinia doreensis) published by Quoy and Gaimard in 1833.
Macrodactyla doreensis

Large tropical anemone widely known as Macrodactyla doreensis is quite common in aquarium trade and is well known for many reef keepers. I never had chance to keep it in my reef tank and never had chance to examine any preserved specimens referable to this species, so I"m not quite familiar with it. Actually, I"m even not sure if the photos presented here show the same species.

The first photo shows a specimen with a very characteristic appearance, it has about 96 tentacles and characteristic white lines on the disk and tentacles. Similarly looking specimen is identified as Macrodactyla doreensis in the paper of Fautin, Crowther and Wallance (2008, Sea anemones (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Actiniaria) of Moreton Bay). In the definition of the genus Macrodactyla these authors say it has only 48 tentacles, but the photos they give on the same page show many more.

The second photo shows a differently looking specimen with many more tentacles, and not so distinct white lines. Numerous similarly looking photos, identified as Macrodactyla doreensis can be found in the Internet and also in scientific papers (e.g. Fautin, Tan, Tan, 2009 - Sea Anemones (Cnidaria: Actiniaria) of Singapore). Is it the same species as on the first photo? Most probably not.

Originally Macrodactyla doreensis was described (as Actinia doreensis) by Quoy and Gaimard in their famous book published in 1833. The description they gave is short, but it states that the tentacles are not numerous and the figure they published (reproduced on the bottom of this webpage) shows only 21 tentacles. Of course this very old figure is too schematic. But can we say it shows the species currently known as Macrodactyla doreensis? Not sure, but most probably not.

The generic name Macrodactyla Haddon, 1898 (sea anemone) is preoccupied [see update below] by the generic name Macrodactyla Harris in Hitchcock, 1833 (Coeloptera - beetles). In other words, generic name Macrodactyla cannot be used as a valid name for sea anemone because it was used earlier for a beetle and must be replaced by a new name. Although this fact was first reported by Fautin et al in 2007 in a catalog of all genera of sea anemones, she continued to use Macrodactyla as a valid name in her papers (e.g. Fautin, Crowther, Wallace, 2008; Fautin, Tan, Tan, 2009). In 2016 Fautin resolved this situation by simply stating that all existing Macrodactyla species are "returned" to the genus Condylactis, so valid name for discussed here anemone, according to Fautin (2016), should be Condylactis doreensis. Fautin (2016), however, failed to provide any discussion or explain why she decided to move former Macrodactyla species to Condylactis.

Update 2023.
In their paper Yap, Mitchell, Quek, Tan, Tan and Huang (2023) showed, that Macrodactyla Haddon, 1898 (sea anemone) is not preoccupied by the Macrodactyla Harris in Hitchcock, 1833 used earlier in Coeloptera because the latter is an incorrect spelling of the coleopteran genus Macrodactylus. Thus, Macrodactyla can be used in sea anemones.
According to the same authors the genus Macrodactyla contains two species, Macrodactyla aspera (type species) and M. fautinae Yap, Mitchell, Quek, and Huang in Yap et. al, 2023. They formally placed Macrodactyla doreensis to the genus Heteractis (as earlier did Rowlett (2020) in his book "Indo-Pacific Corals"). The main problem I see here is the identification of the original Macrodactyla doreensis described by Quoy and Gaimard in 1833, it may be distinct from the species to which this name is currently applied.

Phylum Cnidaria
Class Anthozoa
Order Actiniaria

Family Actiniidae

Species list of sea anemones:
  • Acricoactis brachyacontis
  • Actinernus robustus
  • Actinia equina
  • Actinodendron sp
  • Actinostella bradleyi
  • Actinostephanus haeckeli
  • Actinostola chilensis
  • Actinothoe sphyrodeta
  • Adamsia palliata
  • Aiptasia couchii
  • Aiptasia mutabilis
  • Alicia mirabilis
  • Alicia sansibarensis
  • Allantactis parasitica
  • Amplexidiscus fenestrafer
  • Andresia parthenopea
  • Anemonia alicemartinae
  • Anemonia viridis
  • Antholoba achates
  • Anthopleura elegantissima
  • Anthopleura hermaphroditica
  • Anthopleura orientalis
  • Anthopleura sola
  • Anthopleura xanthogrammica
  • Anthothoe chilensis
  • Armactinia antarctica
  • Artemidactis victrix
  • Aulactinia vancouverensis
  • Aulactinia vladimiri
  • Bathyphellia margaritacea
  • Boloceroides mcmurrichi
  • Boloceropsis platei
  • Bunodactis verrucosa
  • Calliactis polypus
  • Cancrisocia expansa
  • Cereus herpetodes
  • Cereus pedunculatus
  • Cerianthus lloydii
  • Charisea saxicola
  • Cnidopus japonicus
  • Condylactis aurantiaca
  • Condylactis gigantea
  • Corallimorphus karinae
  • Corallimorphus pilatus
  • Corynactis californica
  • Corynactis carnea
  • Corynactis viridis
  • Cribrinopsis albopunctata
  • Cribrinopsis crassa
  • Cribrinopsis fernaldi
  • Cribrinopsis olegi
  • Cribrinopsis rubens
  • Cribrinopsis similis
  • Cryptodendrum adhaesivum
  • Cylista elegans
  • Dactylanthus antarcticus
  • Diadumene lineata
  • Discosoma nummiforme
  • Dofleinia armata
  • Edwardsia inachi
  • Edwardsiella loveni
  • Entacmaea quadricolor
  • Epiactis prolifera
  • Epizoanthus couchii
  • Epizoanthus fiordicus
  • Exaiptasia diaphana
  • Glyphoperidium bursa
  • Gonactinia prolifera
  • Gyractis octoradiata
  • Halcampa arctica
  • Halcampoides sp
  • Halcampoides mediterranea
  • Halcurias pilatus
  • Heteractis aurora
  • Heterodactyla hemprichii
  • Hormathia lacunifera
  • Hormathia nodosa
  • Hormathia pacifica
  • Hormathia pectinata
  • Hormosoma scotti
  • Isaurus tuberculatus
  • Isoparactis fabiani
  • Isoparactis fionae
  • Isosicyonis alba
  • Korsaranthus natalensis
  • Liponema brevicorne
  • Macrodactyla doreensis
  • Megacorynactis giganteus
  • Megalactis griffithsi
  • Mesozoanthus fossii
  • Metridium farcimen
  • Metridium lobatum
  • Metridium senile
  • Metridium senile fimbriatum
  • Nemanthus sp
  • Octineon suecicum
  • Ophiodiscus bukini
  • Ophiodiscus moskalevi
  • Oulactis concinnata
  • Pachycerianthus multiplicatus
  • Pachycerianthus solitarius
  • Paracalliactis involvens
  • Paracondylactis sinensis
  • Paraedwardsia malakhovi
  • Paraisanthus tamarae
  • Paranthus niveus
  • Parazoanthus anguicomus
  • Parazoanthus axinellae
  • Parazoanthus elongatus
  • Peachia cylindrica
  • Phellia exlex
  • Phelliactis callicyclus
  • Phyllodiscus semoni
  • Phymactis papillosa
  • Phymanthea pluvia
  • Phymanthus crucifer
  • Phymanthus species
  • Platyzoanthus mussoides
  • Protanthea simplex
  • Protopalythoa mutuki
  • Pseudocorynactis caribbeorum
  • Ptychodactis aleutiensis
  • Ptychodactis patula
  • Radianthus crispa
  • Radianthus magnifica
  • Radianthus malu
  • Rhodactis inchoata
  • Rhodactis indosinensis
  • Ricordea yuma
  • Sagartia lacerata
  • Sagartia undata
  • Sagartiogeton californicus
  • Sagartiogeton rufus
  • Sicyonis denisovi
  • Sicyonis heliodiscus
  • Sicyonis kuznetsovi
  • Spongiactis japonica
  • Stichodactyla gigantea
  • Stichodactyla haddoni
  • Stichodactyla tapetum
  • Stomphia coccinea
  • Tealidium konoplinorum
  • Telmatactis sp
  • Triactis producta
  • Urticina clandestina
  • Urticina columbiana
  • Urticina crassicornis
  • Urticina eques
  • Urticina fecunda
  • Urticina felina
  • Urticina grebelnyi
  • Urticina kurila
  • Urticina mcpeaki
  • Urticina timuri
  • Verrillactis paguri
  • Zaolutus actius

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