Ivell's sea anemone
|Ivell's sea anemone|
The Ivell's sea anemone (Edwardsia ivelli) is a species of invertebrate in the Edwardsiidae family. It is an endemic species of sea anemone known from only one site, Widewater Lagoon in West Sussex and was found by Richard Ivell. It has been listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN since 1996.
A tiny, worm-like anemone up to 20 mm (0.79 in) long and 1.5 mm (0.059 in) diameter, column as in other Edwardsia spp. There are twelve transparent tentacles, arranged in two cycles, nine tentacles in the outer cycle and three in the inner cycle. In life the tentacles of the outer cycle are held flat on the substrate, the three of the inner cycle more or less vertical, often curled over the mouth. Each tentacle has a few transverse bars of pale cream occasionally forming complete rings.
It is endemic to England known from only one site, Widewater Lagoon in West Sussex, the type locality. Searches in recent years have failed to find any specimens and the species is considered extinct by some conservationists.
Burrows in soft mud in saline lagoons or sheltered creeks, it is a tiny species and easily overlooked unless deliberately sought.
Although the type of locality inhabited by this species is not often searched by divers such places are well worth investigating. This species and Nematostella vectensis are probably the only British Anthozoans which can be considered endangered species through habitat destruction and pollution. It has been marketed as the "hidden sourcing" because it is rarely seen and unrecognizable. Sourcing it is very hard because of its logistics.
Ivell's sea anemone was discovered by Professor Richard Ivell, hence the species' name. He currently resides in Australia with his wife Ravinder, and heads The Molecular Reproduction Laboratory at the University of Adelaide with Ravinder. He has specialized in reproductive and molecular science and is renowned as a worldwide expert in this field.
Key identification features
Very small size, habitat in saline lagoons.