This strange anemone was spotted on Terumbu Raya (a submerged reef just off Pulau Semakau) by Andy and Stephen von Peltz. Andy filmed it and below are Stephen's photos of it. Dr Tan Swee Hee of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research kindly checked its identity for us with Dr Daphne G. Fautin. Dr Daphne is the world authority on sea anemones and she says it is probably Actinostephanus. She adds that the only species of the genus is A. haeckeli and it is known from the western rim of the Pacific.
Wow! So confirmation of its identity may make this a new record for Singapore!
Above is a closeup photo by Stephen. It sure looks intimidating and common names for it include Sea snake anemone. (And it seems appropriate that the Actinostephanus was photographed by Stephen!)
See Andy's video clip of this anemone on his sgbeachbum blog.
I saw a similar sea anemone among silty coral rubble at Beting Bronok in Jul 08. Beting Bronok is also a submerged reef, but it is off Pulau Tekong on our northern shores.
The one I saw seemed to be eating something and eventually curled up into a ball.
A similar sea anemone was also seen in Changi on Aug 08, see the Manta blog for more details.
Have you seen a similar sea anemone on our shores? If you did, it would be great if you could share your sighting so we have a better idea of the status of these amazing animals.