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Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone

Condylactis gigantea


Condylactis gigantea anemonae play an important role in their subtidal communities by providing shelter to a variety of commensals (several fish and cleaner shrimp species), and they serve as "base stations" for fish cleaning activity. Up to 15 cm high and 30 cm wide, making the disk diameter approximately 40 cm, the condy is a large, columnar animal. The condy can exibit a variety of colors: white, light blue, pink, organe, pale red, or light brown. The mouth is surrounded by 100 or more tentacles, each long and tapered with pink-, scarlet-, blue- or green-ringed tips. These tips are usually paler than the body itself. The basal disk is firmly attached to the substrate with the only "free-floating" portion being the tentacles. Although the giant Caribbean sea anemone is primarily a sessile animal and has developed some mechanisms of defense and protection, it is quite a mobile species compared to other anemones, and the form of locomotion that it uses is crawling by way of its pedal disc. This movement of crawling is very slow and is not used in defense or in direct protection from predators. These anemones instead reduce their size and draw their tentacles into their gastric cavity. They also have another more effective defense in their nematocysts, which are their stinging cells, tubular parts of cnidarian’s capsule–like cells. The tips of the tentacles are packed with nematocysts that contain CgNa toxin. When stimulated, the nematocysts explode out of the capsule, impaling the attacker. The toxin is then discharged, causing extreme pain and paralysis.


Condylactis gigantea is commonly found in the Caribbean--most specifically the West Indies--and the western Atlantic, ranging from southern Florida through the Florida keys. They can be seen growing in lagoons or on inner reefs as either individuals or loose groups, but never as colonies. The condy is usually found attached to hard objects in shallow water which experiences full-strength seawater most of the time. It is common around reefs in both "forereef" and lagoon areas as well as in turtle grass beds. The shape of the condy's body is related to the habitat in which it lives. Seen in several dive sites of Klein Bonaire and main Bonaire.

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The MnMs
Spotted by
The MnMs

Bonaire, Caribisch Nederland, Netherlands

Lat: 12.16, Long: -68.33

Spotted on Sep 15, 2017
Submitted on Jan 28, 2018

Spotted for Mission

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