Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
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Allcock, A. L.,Watts, P. C.,Thorpe, J. P.
1998
August
Divergence of nematocysts in two colour morphs of the intertidal beadlet anemone Actinia equina
Published
()
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78
33
821
828
In the common intertidal sea anemone Actinin equina (Cnidaria: Actiniaria) the morphological plasticity and lack of hard parts has caused considerable debate as to what constitutes a species. Over the last several years genetic studies have indicated that this 'species' consists of various separate gene-pools which appear to function as cryptic biological species. Conventional taxonomy has often concentrated on the use of a cnidome, the type, structure and number of nematocysts ('stinging' cells). However, the usefulness of nematocysts to distinguish among various morphs of A. equina and other anthozoan species has recently been questioned. Here we describe the first detailed study of nematocyst differences between two well characterized genetically differentiated morphs with different coloured pedal discs. Measurements were taken from each type of nematocyst in five different tissues. Contrary to expectations, clear and significant nematocyst differences were found between Actinia with red or pink pedal discs and others with green to grey pedal discs. These findings support previous electrophoretic studies and suggest that quantitative descriptions of the cnidome may accurately identify separate species within other genera of Anthozoa.In the common intertidal sea anemone Actinin equina (Cnidaria: Actiniaria) the morphological plasticity and lack of hard parts has caused considerable debate as to what constitutes a species. Over the last several years genetic studies have indicated that this 'species' consists of various separate gene-pools which appear to function as cryptic biological species. Conventional taxonomy has often concentrated on the use of a cnidome, the type, structure and number of nematocysts ('stinging' cells). However, the usefulness of nematocysts to distinguish among various morphs of A. equina and other anthozoan species has recently been questioned. Here we describe the first detailed study of nematocyst differences between two well characterized genetically differentiated morphs with different coloured pedal discs. Measurements were taken from each type of nematocyst in five different tissues. Contrary to expectations, clear and significant nematocyst differences were found between Actinia with red or pink pedal discs and others with green to grey pedal discs. These findings support previous electrophoretic studies and suggest that quantitative descriptions of the cnidome may accurately identify separate species within other genera of Anthozoa.
0025-31540025-3154
://WOS:000075710300010://WOS:000075710300010
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