Plumed sea fir (Aglaophenia tubulifera)
|Researched by||Saskiya Richards||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||Plumed hydroid, Plume hydroid||Synonyms||-|
Aglaophenia tubulifera is a colonial hydroid that is infrequently branched at the stolon and has singular, erect, feather-like plumes with brown, monosiphonic stems reaching up to 6 cm in height. The plumes have numerous yellowish, straight or slightly curved branches (hydrocladia) that alternate on either side of the stem and absent towards the base. The upper surface of each branch has a single row of 4 polyps; a feeding hydranth that is nearest the stem and 3 inconspicuous mouth less nematophores. Hydranths are short and cylindrical with an encirclement of 10 short, round-tipped tentacles around the conical hypostome (mouth region) that is encased by a protective chitinous, elongated cup (hydrothecae). The hydrothecae are longer than the hydranths and have 9 projecting cusps, the outer one longest. Nematophores are smaller than the hydranths and encased by nematothecae, those furthest from the stem are horizontally level with the rim of hydrothecae on the same branch. Individual plumes have up to 12 groups of reproductive gonothecae that are protected by basket-like structures of yellowish branches (corbulae) and vary from 0.19 cm to 0.35 cm in length.
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandAglaophenia tubulifera is widespread from the Isle of Man to north-west Scotland and Irish coasts.
Global distributionAglaophenia tubulifera is distributed across the north-east Atlantic in cool, deep water from Morocco, along the coast of Brittany, past Roscoff and up towards it's northern limit in the British Isles.
HabitatAglaophenia tubulifera inhabits a variety of substratum including pebbles, rocks, boulders, muddy sand and shell between depths of 10 m to 80 m. Colonies of Aglaophenia tubulifera have been recorded in rock pools at low water. Aglaophenia tubulifera attaches to the algal species Cystoseira and Sargassum, as well as the sea oak Halidrys siliquosa.
- Colony of single, erect, feather-like plumes.
- Plume stems brown, up to 6 cm.
- Branches yellow, alternate on either side of stem.
- Each branch has 1 hydranth and 3 nematophore polyps.
- Hydranth short and cylindrical with 9 cusped hydrotheca and ring of 10 short tentacles around conical hypostome.
- Up to 12 yellow corbulae per plume.
Colonies of Aglaophenia tubulifera are dioecious. In Roscoff, reproduction has been known to take place from June-September (Svoboda & Cornelius, 1991). The brownish colour of the stem is due to symbiotic zooxanthellae (Svoboda & Cornelius, 1991). The spacing between the branches increases with water depth.
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OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-12-10
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Last Updated: 12/09/2007