New sea anemone found at iSimangaliso

2012-09-25 11:07
A new species of sea anemone named Edwardsia isimangaliso (iSimangaliso Wetland Park)

A new species of sea anemone named Edwardsia isimangaliso (iSimangaliso Wetland Park)

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Durban - iSimangaliso Wetland Park on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast celebrated National Heritage Day on Monday with the announcement of the recent discovery and naming of a new species of sea anemone Edwardsia isimangaliso.

iSimangaliso chief executive officer Andrew Zaloumis said the new species of anemone was unusual in that it lived half-buried in sand and displayed a large number of long, tapering tentacles.

“This exciting discovery reinforces yet again the importance of conserving this unique area and protecting the integrity of the only habitat where the species is currently known to occur,” Zaloumis said.

Edwardsia isimangaliso was recently discovered by estuarine ecologist Professor Renzo Perissinotto while undertaking an iSimangaliso registered research project, one of 167 registered research projects currently under way in the park.

Perissinotto emphasised that Edwardsia isimangaliso was of special conservation importance.

“It is the only one in the genus [and among only a few anemones] able to survive salinities in excess of sea water. Survival in Lake St Lucia would also require it to be able to survive periodic freshwater conditions, which would add further to its unique nature.

“It may therefore represent the lake’s relict of a lineage that diversified millions of years ago and may now be so adapted to the specific conditions of St Lucia to be micro-endemic to the system and unable to disperse successfully elsewhere,” he said.

- iSimangaliso Wetland Park website

Read more on:    durban  |  conservation  |  marine life
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