BIOTIC Species Information for Nemertesia antennina
Researched byOlwen Ager Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameNemertesia antennina Common nameSea beard
MCS CodeD463 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumCnidaria Subphylum
SuperclassHydrozoa ClassLeptolida
SubclassLeptothecatae OrderConica
SuborderPlumulariida FamilyPlumulariidae
GenusNemertesia Speciesantennina

Additional InformationNone entered
Taxonomy References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Gibson et al., 2001, Cornelius, 1995b, Howson & Picton, 1997,
General Biology
Growth formArborescent / Arbuscular
Feeding methodPassive suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpifaunal
Typical food typesSuspended organic particulates, inc. plankton HabitAttached
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeMedium(11-20 cm)
HeightCan be up to 25 cm Growth Rate2.64-4.6 cm / month (Hughes, 1977).
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationNone entered
Biology References Cornelius, 1995b, Hughes, 1977,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandNemertesia antennina is widely distributed around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.
Global distributionNemertesia antennina is recorded in the northeast Atlantic, from at least the Faroes, Barents Sea and Iceland south through Mauritania to southern Africa, including the Mediterranean, Azores and Madeira.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range10 m to almost 10,000 m (Cornelius, 1995b).
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional Information

Substratum preferencesCoarse clean sand
Fine clean sand
Physiographic preferences
Biological zone Wave exposure
Tidal stream strength/Water flow Salinity
Habitat Preferences Additional InformationFound on hard substratum in sandy areas and preferentially settles on exiting hydrorhizal masses (Hughes, 1977).
Distribution References Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Hayward et al., 1996, Cornelius, 1995b, Picton & Costello, 1998, NBN, 2002,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismLecithotrophic
Reproductive SeasonInsufficient information Reproductive LocationAs adult
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential No
Life span<1 year Age at reproductive maturityInsufficient information
Generation time<1 year FecundityVariable
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeInternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential10-100m Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage<1 day   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationLife span is only 4-5 months and there are three generations per year, each featuring a period of growth, reproduction and death (Hughes, 1977). Planula larvae secrete a mucous thread which aids dispersal of the planula (Hughes, 1977) but which may also assist in getting caught in the tall branches of other Nemertesia antennina, thereby helping the species to form clumps (Gili & Hughes, 1995). Disperal of planula is, therefore, dependant on current speeed, turbulence and height of release, e.g. Hughes (1977) suggested a potential dispersal range of 5 - 50m in Torbay, Devon. Planulae also crawl (although probably no more than 2 m ) before settlement and it is possible that they attach to the substratum with mucous (Hughes, 1977). Hughes (1977) reported three reproductive periods in colonies off Torbay. Regenerated individuals made up ca 16 % of the Torbay population but these individuals had fewer gonagia (Hughes, 1977).
Reproduction References Gili & Huges, 1995, Hughes, 1977, Hughes, 1979,
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