BIOTIC Species Information for Virgularia mirabilis
|Researched by||Jacqueline Hill & Emily Wilson||Data supplied by||MarLIN|
|Refereed by||This information is not refereed.|
|Scientific name||Virgularia mirabilis||Common name||Slender sea pen|
|MCS Code||D618||Recent Synonyms||None|
|Additional Information||As is the case for all octocorals, sea pens are actually colonies of polyps. What distinguishes sea pens is polyp dimorphism. One polyp grows very large and loses its tentacles, forming the central axis. The central axial polyp is divided into two regions: a lower peduncle or stalk, which never bears secondary polyps and functions as a burrowing organ, and an upper stem or rachis, from which numerous secondary polyps bud. Some of these secondary polyps, called autozooids, are typical feeding polyps. Others, the larger and fewer siphonozooids, serve as intakes for water, which circulates within the colony and helps keep it upright. The axial polyp contains a slender, unbranched, calcareous skeletal rod (axis). In this species the axis is round in section and often protrudes from the top of the colony.
Virgularia mirabilis live upright with their stalks thrust into a mucus-lined burrow into which the whole colony can withdraw when disturbed.
|Taxonomy References||Howson & Picton, 1997, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Manuel, 1988,|