Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1936
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1936
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:

General Invasion History:

Diadumene leucolena is native to the East Coast of North America from Georgia, USA to New Brunswick, Canada (Gosner 1978; Casey 1997). It has been widely introduced with oysters and ship fouling to the West Coast of North America (Coos Bay, Oregon to Newport Bay, California; Carlton 1979), the Pacific Coast of Panama (Reimer 1976), Hawaii (Carlton and Eldredge 2009), Puerto Rico (Yale Peabody Museum 2008), Morocco, the Canary Islands, and Cameroon (Ocaña and Den Hartog 2002).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Diadumene leucolena was first collected in the Oakland estuary, San Francisco Bay, in 1936, but it may have been introduced with Eastern Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) much earlier. In San Francisco Bay, it is common to abundant in shallow waters in San Pablo, Central, and South Bays (Carlton 1979; Cohen and Carlton 1995; Cohen et al. 2005). It has been found in many other West Coast embayments, including (from North to South): Coos Bay (in 1967, Carlton 1979); Humboldt Bay (in 2000, Boyd et al. 2002); Elkhorn Slough (in 1998, Wasson et al. 2001); Marina del Rey, Santa Monica Bay (Reish 1972, cited by Carlton 1979); Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbors (in 1954, Reish 1959, cited by Carlton 1979); Alamitos, Anaheim, and Newport Bays (Reish 1972, cited by Carlton 1979). Two California records are from open coast locations: Anacapa Island (Channel Islands) (in 1977, USNM 73730, U.S. National Museum of Natural History 2008), and Enderts Beach, Crescent City (in 2003, Warburton 2005, in a sewage outfall).

Invasion History in Hawaii:

Diadumene leucolena may have been present near Honolulu, Oahu as early as the 1950s. It was found by Cuttress in 1977 (cited by Carlton and Eldredge 2009) in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Harbor, and the Alai Wai Canal.

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

Diadumene leucolena was collected in 1962 from La Parguera, Puerto Rico (in 1962, YPM 7652, Yale Peabody Museum 2008). We do not know whether this anemone is established in Puerto Rico or elsewhere in the Caribbean. In the Eastern Atlantic, D. leucolena was found in tide pools at Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands (in 1994, Ocaña and den Hartog 2002. 'only in mesolittoral pools'). It is also known from Cameroon (as Diadumene kameruniensis, Carlgren 1927, cited by Ocaña and den Hartog 2002), Morocco, and Senegal (Ocaña and den Hartog 2002). These records are most likely due to transport by ship fouling.

In the Pacific, D. leucolena was reportedly abundant in a rocky intertidal community at Paitilla Beach, Panama City, near the Pacific end of the Panama Canal (in 1972, Reimer 1976).


Diadumene leucolena has a column which appears smooth from a distance, but is studded with small dark bumps when looked at closely. When extended, the column of the polyp is 2-5X the width. Some specimens reach 38 mm in height and 12 mm in width. This anemone has acontia, threadlike structures, lined with cnidocytes (cells bearing nematocysts) which extend from the middle lobes of incomplete mesenteries, which partially divide the gastrovascular cavity. The acontia can be extended into the body cavity, or extruded through pores, as a defense in response to disturbance or handling. There are 40-60 tentacles, and there is a substantial tentacle-free zone around the mouth. The tentacles are long and slender when extended. This anemone is usually whitish and translucent, tinted with pale pink, orange, or olive (description from: Gosner 1978; Carlton 1979; Cohen and Carlton 1995; Fautin, in Carlton 2007).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Cnidaria
Class:   Anthozoa
Subclass:   Zoantharia
Order:   Actiniaria
Suborder:   Thenaria
Family:   Diadumenidae
Genus:   Diadumene
Species:   leucolena


Cylista leucolena (Verrill, 1866)
Diadumene kameruniensis (Carlgren, 1927)
Sagartia leucolena (Verrill, 1866)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Diadumene lineata

Diadumene sp. 1



Most sea anemones of the genus Diadumene 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). However, in D. leucolena, asexual reproduction appears to be rare or absent, at least in native populations in East Coast estuaries (Shick and Lamb 1977). Shick and Lamb (1977) suggest that the dominance of sexual reproduction and genetic variation helps the persistence of populations during highly variable conditions, which may completely wipe out clonal populations, such as those of the asexual D. lineata. Hand (1956) suggested that this was also true for West Coast D. leucolena, based on the regular arrangement of the mesenteries, which is disrupted during longitudinal fission.

This anemone is known from estuaries and sheltered waters, where it grows on oysters, rocks, seaweeds, pilings, and floats (Gosner 1978; Carlton 1979; Cohen and Carlton 1995; Casey 1997; Cohen 2005). It can also occur in sheltered tide pools, especially those receiving some freshwater inflow (Fofonoff, personal observations). It is especially tolerant of variable salinity and occurs at salinities as low as 6-7 PSU (Pierce and Minasian 1974; Shick and Lamb 1977; Gosner 1978; Casey 1997). Like other anemones, it feeds by trapping zooplankton and small epibenthic animals with its tentacles (Barnes 1983).


Zooplankton, small epibenthos

Trophic Status:




General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatOyster ReefNone
General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
General HabitatRockyNone
Salinity RangeMesohaline5-18 PSU
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Tidal RangeLow IntertidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)0None
Minimum Salinity (‰)7Field observations, Pettaquamscutt River RI, Paul Fofonoff, personal observation
Maximum Salinity (‰)33None
Minimum Duration5Planula larvae were planktonic for at 'least 5 days' at 17.5 C and 25 PSU (Shick and Lamb 1977).
Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneMesohaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Diadumene leucolena has no reported impacts in its introduced range.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
NA-ET3 Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras 0 Native Estab
SP-XXI None 1977 Def Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 0 Native Estab
NEP-V Northern California to Mid Channel Islands 1936 Def Estab
NEP-IV Puget Sound to Northern California 1967 Def Estab
NEP-VI Pt. Conception to Southern Baja California 1954 Def Estab
P170 Coos Bay 1967 Def Estab
P130 Humboldt Bay 2000 Def Estab
P090 San Francisco Bay 1936 Def Estab
P080 Monterey Bay 1998 Def Estab
P040 Newport Bay 1972 Def Estab
P045 _CDA_P045 (Santa Ana) 1963 Def Estab
P050 San Pedro Bay 1954 Def Estab
P060 Santa Monica Bay 1972 Def Estab
NA-ET2 Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod 0 Native Estab
P093 _CDA_P093 (San Pablo Bay) 1936 Def Estab
CAR-IV None 1962 Def Unk
WA-I None 1994 Def Estab
WA-III None 1927 Def Estab
SEP-H None 1972 Def Estab
P065 _CDA_P065 (Santa Barbara Channel) 1977 Def Estab
P143 _CDA_P143 (Smith) 2003 Def Estab
PAN_PAC Panama Pacific Coast 1972 Def Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 0 Crypto Unk
CIO-VI None 2017 Crypto Unk

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude
5272 USNM 22380 1882 9999-01-01 Naushon Island Native 41.4833 -70.7583
5273 USNM 42618 None 9999-01-01 Woods Hole Native 41.5167 -70.6833
5274 USNM 49543 1949 1949-06-19 New River Native 34.5297 -77.3375
5275 USNM 50768 1957 1957-07-15 Gloucester Point Native 37.2456 -76.5050
5278 USNM 51630 1959 1959-09-28 Hatteras Island Native 35.4081 -75.4872
5279 USNM 52282 1961 1961-05-21 High's Beach Native 39.0500 -75.1500
5280 USNM 59297 1977 1977-08-16 Off North Carolina Native 33.6000 -78.1000
5281 USNM 73730 1977 1977-12-08 Channel Islands Def 34.0053 -119.4181
5282 Nauman and Cory 1969 in Calder 1972 1969 9999-01-01 Chalk Point Native 38.5401 -76.6827
5316 Frick et al. 2000 1998 1998-05-01 Wassaw Island Native 31.9049 -80.9807
5317 Shick and Lamb 1977 1975 1975-12-01 None Native 41.4419 -71.4414
5318 Reimer 1976 1972 1972-01-31 Paitilla Beach Def 8.9500 -79.5667
5320 Osman 1977 1972 1972-06-01 Nonamesset Island Native 41.5167 -70.6781
5322 Sutherland 1981 1971 1971-05-02 Beaufort Native 34.7181 -76.6642
5323 Boesch 1973 1969 1969-02-01 Hampton Roads Native 36.9247 -76.3439
5324 Coles et al. 1999 1997 9999-01-01 None Def 21.3094 -157.8725
5325 Ruiz et al. 2000 1967 1967-01-01 None Def 43.3681 -124.2158
5327 Cohen and Carlton 1995 1936 9999-01-01 Oakland Estuary Def 37.8044 -122.2697
5328 Cohen and Carlton 1995 1960 9999-01-01 Port San Pablo Marina Def 37.9624 -122.4188
5330 Cohen et al. 2005 2004 9999-01-01 Pete's Harbor/ Def 37.7083 -122.2792
5331 Bishop Museum 1996 1977 9999-01-01 Honolulu Def 21.3550 -157.9722
5332 Coles et al. 2002 2000 9999-01-01 Waikiki, Oahu Def 21.2828 -157.8294
5333 Boyd et al. 2002 2000 9999-01-01 Humboldt Bay Def 40.7500 -124.2083
5376 Ocana and Hartog 2002 2002 9999-01-01 Canary Islands Def 28.2000 -14.0000
5661 CAS IZ 106632 1972 1972-03-25 Coyote Point Def 37.7083 -122.2792
5664 Vassallo 1969 1967 1967-06-01 East San Mateo Bridge Def 37.6000 -122.1833
5667 Torres and Mangum 1974 1974 9999-01-01 None Native 36.9414 -76.4439
5668 Pierce and Minasian 1974 1974 9999-01-01 Solomons Native 38.3183 -76.4544
5685 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Swan Point Native 38.1333 -76.3000
5686 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Buoy Rock Native 39.0000 -76.2166
5687 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Hood Native 38.9333 -76.2333
5688 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Hollicutt Noose Native 38.8500 -76.3500
5689 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Cook Point Native 38.6500 -76.2833
5690 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Deep Neck Native 38.7333 -76.2500
5691 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Double Mills Native 38.7333 -76.1333
5692 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Horn Point Native 38.6000 -76.1333
5693 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Green Marsh Native 38.5833 -76.0666
5694 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Norman Native 38.2500 -76.1166
5695 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Middleground Native 38.2333 -75.9166
5696 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Georges Native 38.1333 -75.8333
5697 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Marumsco Native 37.9500 -75.7333
5698 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Sandy Point North Native 39.0166 -76.3833
5699 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Saunders Native 38.8833 -76.4833
5700 Steinberg and Kennedy 1979 1977 1977-07-01 Cornfield Harbor Native 38.0500 -76.3333
6008 Reish 1972, cited by Carlton 1979 1972 1972-01-01 Newport Bay Def 33.6084 -117.9092
6009 Reish 1972, cited by Carlton 1979 1972 1972-01-01 Seal Beach Def 33.7425 -118.1156
6010 Reish 1972, cited by Carlton 1979 1972 1979-01-01 Anaheim Bay Def 33.7317 -118.0873
6011 Reish 1972, cited by Carlton 1979 1972 1972-01-01 None Def 33.7497 -118.1181
6012 Loveland and Shafto 1987 None 9999-01-01 None Native 39.8887 -74.1282
6013 Yale Peabody Museum 2008 None 9999-01-01 New Haven Native 41.2501 -72.9004
6015 Casey 1997 1990 1990-01-01 Deer Island Native 45.0000 -66.9667
6016 Gosner 1978 None 9999-01-01 Mt. Desert Island Native 44.3781 -68.3136
6017 Sebens 1998 None 9999-01-01 Salem Native 42.5237 -70.8662
6018 Ocana and den Hartog 2002 None 9999-01-01 None Def 31.0000 -10.0000
6019 Ocana and den Hartog 2002 None 9999-01-01 None Def 15.0000 -17.0000
6020 Ocana and den Hartog 2002 1927 1927-01-01 None Def 3.0000 9.5000
768220 Ruiz et al., 2015 2012 2012-09-13 San Leandro Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.6962 -122.1919


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