Machias Community Church

Sea Pen 

Posted by Pastor Ron Sunday, February 27, 2011 8:00:00 AM

These filter feeders are another marine animal that look like a plant.  Actually, each Sea Pen is a colony of individual 'animals' called polyps that are working together to survive.

The primary polyp becomes the bulbous body that is embedded into the sand or mud enough that it can withstand the moderate currents that bring the colony food.

Secondary polyps form the fan like arms while others act as the mouths to feed. Others take the role of pumping stations to circulate water and if necessary evacuate water and contract the whole colony into the stalk.  And some polyps have the job of reproduction.

Clicking on the pictures below will open a larger version.

White Metridium Anemones in the background

Young Sea Pen

Close-up of feeding polyps

Small Striped Nudibranch eating polyps like corn on the cob