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New sea anemone species resembling tempura found

Yuji Ise/Jiji Press

This photo, taken by Yuji Ise, a former designated assistant professor at the University of Tokyo’s Misaki Marine Biological Station, shows a new species of anemone, named Tempuractis rinkai, or tempura isoginchaku in Japanese.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Japanese research team has discovered a new species of sea anemone that resembles shrimp tempura when the creature puts out its tentacles from inside the sea sponge it lives with.

The new species was named Tempuractis rinkai, or tempura isoginchaku (anemone) in Japanese, Takato Izumi, a University of Tokyo doctoral student, and other members of the team said.

The members found many tiny anemones living inside homosclerophorid sponges they collected at a rocky shore near the university’s Misaki Marine Biological Station in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Because of their small size — 3 to 4 millimeters in length per adult specimen — and other distinguishing bodily features as well as their peculiar symbiotic ecology with the sponges, the researchers concluded that the anemones are a new species assigned to family Edwardsiidae, they said in an article published by the Japanese journal Zoological Science.

The sponges were also collected on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, and off the coast of Toba, Mie Prefecture, and all were found to contain the newly discovered anemones.

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