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Megalactis griffithsi Saville-Kent, 1893

(photos of Bernard DUPONT, Pacific specimens from Eel Garden, Mabul, Sabah, Malaysia)
Megalactis griffithsi

Megalactis griffithsi

Megalactis griffithsi

Megalactis griffithsi


The specimens on the photos below look a bit different from Megalactis griffithsi as it appear on the photos above. I cannot say if this is another species of Megalactis or the same species. Anyway it certainly is a Megalactis, the branches on its long tentacles seem arranged in two series along the sides of the tentacles.
(photos of Ron DeCloux San Rafael, California: specimen from aquarium)
Megalactis sp.

Megalactis sp.

Megalactis is one of the three genera of tropical sea anemones belonging to the family Actinodendronidae which members also known as Hell’s fire anemones. They are very stingy. Two other genera are Actinodendron and Actinostephanus. Many internet images showing species of Megalactis are labelled as Actinodendron. Megalactis differs from Actinodendron by the position of the branches on its long tentacles. In Megalactis the branches are more or less clearly set along the sides of the tentacles, while in Actinodendron the branches are set all round the tentacles.

Only three species of Megalactis are currently known:

  • Megalactis hemprichii, originally described in 1834 from Red Sea,
  • Megalactis griffithsi originally described in 1893 from Torres Strait (Australia),
  • Megalactis comata described in 2004 by Ardelean and Fautin (2004) from Taiwan (originally spelled as Megalactis comatus).
Megalactis comata is said to be more shaggy and lives in thickets of stony corals Acropora and thus can be distinguished from two other Megalactis species which occur on sandy or muddy bottoms.
  How to distinguish M. hemprichii from M. griffithsi I do not know. In their paper Ardelean and Fautin (2004) provide a table with diagnostic characters of three Megalactis species but in practice it cannot be used to distinguish M. hemprichii from M. griffithsi.
  Also, I do not know if these two species may be separated basing on their geographic occurrence (whether all specimens from Red Sea should be identified as M. hemprichii and all specimens from Australia, Indonesia and other Pacific localities as M. griffithsi). The specimens on the photos reproduced here are from Pacific so they are identified as M. griffithsi.
A possibility exists that M. hemprichii and M. griffithsi are just synonyms (i.e. the same species), in this case valid name will be M. hemprichii since it has a priority (this name is older than M. griffithsi).

Certainly the genus deserves further study. Underwater photos of specimens from different localities may be very helpful to reveal variability of included species.

Phylum Cnidaria
Class Anthozoa
Order Actiniaria

Family Actinodendronidae

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
  • 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
  • Megalactis griffithsi
  • Mesozoanthus fossii
  • Metridium farcimen
  • Metridium lobatum
  • Metridium senile
  • Metridium senile fimbriatum
  • Nemanthus sp
  • Octineon suecicum
  • Oulactis concinnata
  • Pachycerianthus multiplicatus
  • Pachycerianthus solitarius
  • Paracalliactis involvens
  • Paracondylactis sinensis
  • Paracorynactis hoplites
  • 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
  • Sicyonis heliodiscus
  • Spongiactis japonica
  • Stichodactyla gigantea
  • Stichodactyla haddoni
  • Stichodactyla tapetum
  • Stomphia coccinea
  • 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

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