Sea Pens Facts
- Sea Pens represent an order of marine cnidarians. There also remain 16 families within this order, and all live in all temperate and tropical oceans.
- Its name derives from its resemblance to ancient quill writing pens. Yet not all varieties of this creature bear this resemblance, however.
- It also represents an ancient order of creatures. Fossil evidence indicates that it has existed for at least 540 million years.
- Interestingly, most varieties of Sea Pens will glow a bright green if disturbed. Yet, the purpose of this still remains unclear to researchers.
Sea Pens Physical Description
Sea Pens actually represent colonies of individual polyps and together they function as a single organism. Each polyp also possesses eight tentacles.
Various polyps also have specialized to perform specific functions for the whole. One loses its tentacles and becomes rigid. This forms the central stalk of the creature. The rest attach themselves to it, as a base.
In some types, the exposed portion may also reach 6.6 ft (2 m) in height.
Sea Pens Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The many various forms of the remarkable Sea Pens have a nearly global distribution and can be found in nearly all temperate and tropical waters.
All varieties also seem to have similar preferences for habitat. Each seems to prefer deep water, and, in fact, some species inhabit depths of as much as 6,600 ft (2,000 m).
Some species of this rather surprising creature have extremely long lifespans, living as long as 100 years.
The varied forms of the animal also all feed on a variety of tiny organisms. The ends of each polyp catch the prey.