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Calliactis polypus

Hermit Crab Anemone

Tara Gatehouse (2014)




Fact Sheet



Physical Description


Life History & Behaviour



Gas Exchange & Excretion


Anatomy & Physiology

External Morphology

Internal Anatomy & Physiology


Retraction-Deflation Sequence


Evolution & Systematics

Evolution with Hermit Crabs


Biogeographic Distribution

Global Distribution

Local Distribution

Conservation & Threats

References & Links

References & Links

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. 2013. Australian Government: Department of the Environment. Available: polypus [Accessed May 22 2014].

BOCHAROVA, E. S. & KOZEVICH, I. A. 2011. Modes of reproduction in sea anemones (Cnidaria, Anthozoa). Biology Bulletin, 38, 849-860.

BROOKS, W. R. & MARISCAL, R. N. 1985. Asexual reproduction by the symbiotic sea anemone Calliactis tricolor (Lesueur). Bulletin of Marine Science, 36, 432-435.

CUTRESS, C., ROSS, D. M. & SUTTON, L. 1970. The association of Calliactis tricolor with its pagurid, calappid, and majid partners in the Caribbean. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 48, 371-376.

DAVIE, P. 2011. Wild Guide to Moreton Bay and Adjacent Coasts, Queensland Museum.

FARLEX. 1913. Available: [Accessed May 2 2014].

FAUTIN, D. G. 2009. Structural diversity, systematics, and evolution of cnidae. Toxicon, 54, 1054-1064.

FAUTIN, D. G. 2013. Hexacorallians of the World [Online]. Available: [Accessed May 22 2014].

FAUTIN, D. G., CROWTHER, A.L. & WALLACE, C.C. 2008. Sea anemones (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Actinaria) of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum - Nature, 54(1), 35-64.

GBIF. 2013. GBIF Backbone Taxonomy [Online]. The Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Available: [Accessed May 15 2014].

GRUBER, D. F., KAO, H.-T., JANOSCHKA, S., TSAI, J. & PIERIBONE, V. A. 2008. Patterns of Fluorescent Protein Expression in Scleractinian Corals. The Biological Bulletin, 215, 143-154.

GUSMÃO, L. C. & DALY, M. 2010. Evolution of sea anemones (Cnidaria: Actiniaria: Hormathiidae) symbiotic with hermit crabs. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 56, 868-877.

HAWAIIFISHGUY 2010. Hermit Crab Collects Anemone.

HESSINGER, D. A. & LENHOFF, H. M. 1973. Assay and properties of the hemolysis activity of pure venom from the nematocysts of the acontia of the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 159, 629-638.

HOBGOOD, N. 2006. Protective Headgear. Flickr.

JOSEPHSON, R. K. 1974. VI - Cnidarian Neurobiology. In: MUSCATINE, L. & LENHOFF, H. M. (eds.) Coelenterate Biology. Academic Press.

KASS-SIMON, G. & SCAPPATICCI, A. A., JR. 2002. The behavioral and developmental physiology of nematocysts. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 80, 1772-1794.

MACKIE, G. O. 2002. What's new in cnidarian biology? Canadian Journal of Zoology, 80, 1649-1653.

MARISCAL, R. N. 1974. III - Nematocysts. In: MUSCATINE, L. & LENHOFF, H. M. (eds.) Coelenterate Biology. Academic Press.

MURAWSKI, D. A. 2013. Anemone and Hermit Crab.Online: National Geographic.

MUSCATINE, L., HOWARD, M. L. 1974. Coelenterate Biology: Reviews and New Perspectives, New York, Academic Press, Inc.

PANTIN, C. F. A. 1942. The excitation of nematocysts. Journal of Experimental Biology, 19, 294-310.

POPOV, A. 2012. Anemone hermit crab Egypt Dahab (Canyon night dive) june 2012.

PENG, S.-E., WANG, Y.-B., WANG, L.-H., CHEN, W.-N. U., LU, C.-Y., FANG, L.-S. & CHEN, C.-S. 2010. Proteomic analysis of symbiosome membranes in Cnidaria–dinoflagellate endosymbiosis. PROTEOMICS, 10, 1002-1016.

RODRÍGUEZ, E., BARBEITOS, M., DALY, M., GUSMÃO, L. C. & HÄUSSERMANN, V. 2012. Toward a natural classification: phylogeny of acontiate sea anemones (Cnidaria, Anthozoa, Actiniaria). Cladistics, 28, 375-392.

ROSS, D. M. 1970. The commensal association of Calliactis polypus and the hermit crab Dardanus gemmatus in Hawaii. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 48, 351-357.

ROSS, D. M. 1971. Protection of Hermit Crabs (Dardanus spp.) from Octopus by Commensal Sea Anemones (Calliactis spp.). Nature, 230, 401-402.

ROSS, D. M. 1974. VII - Behavior Patterns in Associations and Interactions with Other Animals. In: MUSCATINE, L. & LENHOFF, H. M. (eds.) Coelenterate Biology. Academic Press.

RUPPERT, E. E., FOX, R.S., BARNES, R.D. 2004. Inverebrate Zoology: A Functional Evolutionary Approach, Belmont, CA, USA, Brooks/Cole.

SALLEO, A., SPADA, G. & ROBSON, E. A. 1990. Discharge characteristics of nematocysts isolated from acontia ofCalliactis parasitica. Marine Biology, 104, 459-464.

SHICK, J. M. 1991. A Functional Biology of Sea Anemones, Netherlands, Springer Netherlands.

WESTFALL, J. A. 2004. Neural pathways and innervation of snidocytes in tentacles of sea anemones. Hydrobiologia, 530/531, 177-121.


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Illustrated Glossary of Sea Anemone Anatomy




Actinia decorata (Couthouy in Dana, 1846)
Actinia maculata ()
Actinia polypus ()
Adamsia decorata ()
Adamsia miriam (Haddon & Shackleton, 1893)
Calliactis decorata ((Drayton in Dana, 1849))
Calliactis miriam (Haddon & Shackleton, 1893)
Cribrina polypus (Ehrenberg)
Priapus polypus (Forsskål, 1775)

Common Names