Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1995
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1995
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:

General Invasion History:

The origin of Bunodeopsis sp. A is unknown. The genus has six named species in the South Pacific, Mediterranean, Caribbean, and South Atlantic, but none currently described from the Northeast Pacific (Appeltans et al. 2012). Anemones of this genus cling to mangroves, seaweeds, seagrasses, rubble, and sponges, and are noticed by divers and swimmers for their stings (Kaplan 1988; Ljubenkov, in SCAMIT 1999). The sudden appearance and high abundance of this previously un-noticed anemone in Mexico and Southern California is strongly suggestive of an introduction.

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Bunodeopsis sp. A was discovered in Puerto Escondido, Gulf of California, Mexico, in the late 1980s by Ljubenkov (1996, cited by Engle and Richards 2001). In 1995, it was found in Mission Bay, San Diego (Ljubenkov, in SCAMIT 1999). In 1995, during an El Nino event, it was found on seagrasses and seaweeds at many locations around Catalina and San Clemente Islands (Engle and Richards 2001). We do not know if it is still established in the islands. In 2000, it was found in San Dieguito Lagoon and Agua Hedionda Lagoon, north of Mission Bay (Cohen et al. 2002). This anemone is capable of autotomizing its tentacles and drifting long distances with currents. We do not know if there have been further range expansions of this anemone.


Description

Bunodeopsis sp. A is a tiny, translucent white anemone associated with seagrasses and seaweeds (Engle and Richards 2001). We do not have detailed information on its morphology. Another species of the genus, B. antillarum, from the Caribbean, has masses of bubble-like or fingerlike vesicles at the base of the column, 20-40 transparent tentacles (held straight in photos), and reaches up to 3.8 cm tall (Kaplan 1988). In Bunodeopsis sp. A, the oral disc is volcano-like in shape, with tentacles arising from the edge. The tentacles are typically curled, and bear small white spots, which are associated with cnidocytes (cells bearing nematocysts). This species has a potent sting (Ljubenkov, in SCAMIT 1999).


Taxonomy

Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Cnidaria
Class:   Anthozoa
Subclass:   Zoantharia
Order:   Actiniaria
Suborder:   Nyantheae
Infraorder:   Boloceroidaria
Family:   Boloceroididae
Genus:   Bunodeopsis
Species:   Sp. A Ljubenkov

Synonyms

Potentially Misidentified Species

Bunodeopsis antillarum
Caribbean species

Ecology

General:

Bunodeopsis sp. A is a tiny, translucent white anemone associated with seagrasses and seaweeds (Engle and Richards 2001). Not much is known about its biology. Most sea anemones can reproduce sexually, by releasing eggs and sperm into the water, and asexually by longitudinal fission or by a method called pedal laceration. In pedal laceration, as the anemone moves, a portion of its base is left behind and grows into a new anemone (Barnes 1983). Bunodeopsis sp. A is associated with seagrasses and seaweeds in sheltered sand and rock environments. In southern California, it was found at 18.5 to 35 PSU (Cohen et al. 2002). It is capable of drifting long distances with detached seaweeds (Engle and Richards 2001). This anemone, like others, feeds on zooplankton and small epibenthos (Barnes 1983).

Food:

Zooplankton; epibenthos

Trophic Status:

Carnivore

Carn

Habitats

General HabitatUnstructured BottomNone
General HabitatGrass BedNone
General HabitatRockyNone
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone


Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Salinity (‰)18.5Field collection, San Dieguito Lagoon CA (Cohen et al. 2002)
Broad Temperature RangeNoneWarm temperate-Subtropical
Broad Salinity RangeNonePolyhaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

The anemone Bunodeopsis sp. A suddenly became abundant in Mission Bay, California. The dense groups of anemones released tentacles with nematocysts, stinging swimmers and divers and overgrowing seagrasses, killing the leaves, and contributing to the decline of eelgrass beds (SCAMIT 1999; Engle and Richards 1999; Williams 2007).

Regional Impacts

NEP-VIPt. Conception to Southern Baja CaliforniaEcological ImpactCompetition
Settling of Bunodeopsis sp. A on seagrass (Zostera marina) killed plants in Mission Bay, by reducing the light reaching the leaf, covering the leaf surface, weighing down the leaf, bending it downwards, and matting leaves together (Williams and Heck 2001, cited by Williams et al. 2007).
NEP-VIPt. Conception to Southern Baja CaliforniaEcological ImpactHabitat Change
Settling of Bunodeopsis sp. A on seagrass (Zostera marina) killed plants in Mission Bay, affecting the extent and health of eelgrass beds (Williams and Heck 2001, cited by Williams et al. 2007).
P020San Diego BayEcological ImpactCompetition
Settling of Bunodeopsis sp. A on seagrass (Zostera marina) killed plants in San Diego by shading the leaf, decreasing photosynthesis (Williams and Heck 2001, cited by Williams et al. 2007).
P020San Diego BayEcological ImpactHabitat Change
Settling of Bunodeopsis sp. A on seagrass (Zostera marina) killed plants in San Diego. In experiments, removal of the anemones, resulted in increased growth, due both to shading of the leaf, and weighing the leaf down, increasing self-shading (Williams and Heck 2001, cited by Williams et al. 2007).
P030Mission BayEcological ImpactHabitat Change
Settling of Bunodeopsis sp. A on seagrass (Zostera marina) killed plants in San Diego. In experiments, removal of the anemones, resulted in increased growth, due both to shading of the leaf, and weighing the leaf down, increasing self-shading (Williams and Heck 2001, cited by Williams et al. 2007).
P030Mission BayEcological ImpactCompetition
Settling of Bunodeopsis sp. A on seagrass (Zostera marina) killed plants in San Diego by shading the leaf, decreasing photosynthesis (Williams and Heck 2001, cited by Williams et al. 2007).
NEP-VIPt. Conception to Southern Baja CaliforniaEconomic ImpactHealth
Bunodeopsis sp. A can sting the exposed skin of swimmers and divers, through contact with the whole animal, or with autotomized tentacles, drifting in the waters. The stings are not extremely painful, but produce a sense of irritation and numbness (Ljubenkov, in SCAMIT 1999).
P030Mission BayEconomic ImpactHealth
Bunodeopsis sp. A can sting the exposed skin of swimmers and divers, through contact with the whole animal, or with autotomized tentacles, drifting in the waters. The stings are not extremely painful, but produce a sense of irritation and numbness (Ljubenkov, in SCAMIT 1999).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
P058 _CDA_P058 (San Pedro Channel Islands) 1996 Def Unk
P030 Mission Bay 1995 Def Estab
P023 _CDA_P023 (San Louis Rey-Escondido) 2000 Def Estab
P022 _CDA_P022 (San Diego) 2000 Def Estab
P020 San Diego Bay 1998 Def Estab
NEP-VII None 1987 Crypto Estab
NEP-VI Pt. Conception to Southern Baja California 1995 Def Estab
P058 _CDA_P058 (San Pedro Channel Islands) 1997 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude

References

2011-2015 World Registry of Marine Species. http://www.marinespecies.org/index.php

Barnes, Robert D. (1983) Invertebrate Zoology, Saunders, Philadelphia. Pp. 883

Cohen, Andrew N. and 12 authors (2002) Project report for the Southern California exotics expedition 2000: a rapid assessment survey of exotic species in sheltered coastal waters., In: (Eds.) . , Sacramento CA. Pp. 1-23

Engle, John M.; Richards, Daniel V. (2001) New and unusual invertebrates discovered at the Californa Channel islands during the 1997-1998 El Nino., Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 100(3): 186-198

Kaplan, Eugene H. (1988) A Field Gude to Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores, In: (Eds.) . , Boston. Pp. <missing location>

Looby, Audrey; Ginsburg, David W. (2021) Nearshore species biodiversity of a marine protected area off Santa Catalina Island, California, Western North American Naturalist 81(1): 113-130

Ranasinghe, J. Ananda and 6 authors. (2005) The prevalence of non-indigenous species in southern California embayments and their effects on benthic macroinvertebrate communities, Biological Invasions 7: 679-686

Southern California Association of Marine Inveretbrate Taxonomists (SCAMIT) (1999) Non-polychaete problem taxa, SCAMIT Newsletter 18(6): 7

Williams, Susan L. (2007) Introduced species in seagrass ecosystems: Status and concerns., Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 350: 89-110