BIOTIC Species Information for Urticina felina
Researched byAngus Jackson & Dr Keith Hiscock Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byProf. Daphne Fautin
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismLecithotrophic
Reproductive SeasonApril to June Reproductive LocationWater column
Reproductive frequencyAnnual protracted Regeneration potential No
Life span21-50 years Age at reproductive maturitySee additional information
Generation timeInsufficient information FecundityInsufficient information
Egg/propagule size500-700 micrometres Fertilization typeExternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potentialSee additional information Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage11-30 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional Information
  • No information has been found regarding the longevity of Urticina felina but given the large size, slow growth rate and few predators it is likely that it survives for quite a long time. Specimens in aquarium tanks are known to still be flourishing fifty years after collection (P. G. Moore pers. comm.).
  • Age at maturity is not known. Chia & Spaulding (1972) working with the similar (see 'Taxonomy') Tealia crassicornis (see below) found no sign of gonad development at 14 months old. The smallest fertile Urticina lofotensis, a similar species in California, are recorded as at least 18 months old (Wedi & Dunn, 1983).
  • Solé-Cava et al. (1985) considered that sexual reproduction is the most important, if not the only, method of reproduction in Urticina felina. Appeloff (1900) (reported in Chia & Spaulding, 1972) observed that in Europe "Tealia (=Urticina) crassicornis" releases its gametes into the sea and that larval development in independent of the adult. Chia & Spaulding (1972), in observing that Tealia crassicornis from the north-west of the USA (the Pacific coast) has a mode of development similar to that described by Appeloff (almost certainly for what is now called "Urticina felina") suggests that the information they collected on Tealia crassicornis can be used with some validity here. It is not known whether Urticina felina reproduces asexually as do several other anemones (such as Actinia equina and Metridium senile).
  • Stephenson (1935) reports that viviparity has been suspected because of the sudden appearance apparently from "nowhere" of individuals in aquaria.
  • The Plymouth Marine Fauna (Marine Biological Association, 1957) records Urticina felina as breeding in May. Chia & Spaulding (1972) record the similar Tealia crassicornis from San Juan Island on the north-west coast of the USA as spawning in the morning during April, May and June.
  • Chia & Spaulding (1972) bred and grew Tealia crassicornis from the north-west coast of the USA. In Tealia crassicornis, mucus containing gametes were expelled from the mouth. The yellow eggs (500-700 µm diameter) formed little clusters which then broke apart and began to float.
  • The duration of the larval stage may vary. For Tealia crassicornis, Chia & Spaulding (1972) found that nine days after fertilization, the planula was ready to settle and, a further four days after settling, had 4 tentacles. Certain substrata (such as Phyllochaetopterus sp. and Sabellaria cementaria tubes) could induce settlement rapidly in the laboratory. In the absence of inducing substrata larvae could remain in the water column for at least 17 days but settled within the second month after fertilization.
  • The species is probably quite slow growing. Chia & Spaulding (1972) found that fed individuals of the similar Tealia crassicornis were only 10mm in diameter after a year and there was no gonad development present in 14 month old anemones. However, at 18 months, individuals were 4 cm diameter with 60-70 tentacles.
  • Solé-Cava et al. (1994) suggested that the large sub-littoral sea anemone Urticina eques (very similar to Urticina felina) with its large lecithotrophic larvae is probably not truly planktonic and has poor dispersive powers.
Reproduction References Solé-Cava et al., 1985, Chia & Spaulding, 1972., Hand, 1955, Wedi & Dunn, 1983, Spaulding, 1974, Solé-Cava et al., 1994, Solé-Cava & Thorpe, 1992, MBA, 1957, Stephenson, 1935, Wedi & Dunn, 1983, Gosse, 1853,
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