Size: up to 46cm high and 10cm wide
Range: Alaska to central California
Habitat: intertidal and shallow subtidal, preferring sandy substrate to a depth of 100m (and possibly deeper!)
Description: a bright orange organism, with a bulb concealed in the sea floor extending up into a thick stalk with fleshy looking frills/branches that end in polyps. Sedentary, it can be found alone or in small groups. Normally sessile, it can move by using currents to propel it to a new location.
Fun Facts: named for its similar appearance to an old fashioned quill pen, the Orange Sea Pen is a truly unique animal, in that it's not actually one animal! Orange Sea Pens are actually colony creatures. Their predators include most sea stars and a number of nudibranchs. Nudibranchs that have eaten this sea pen are often orange hued afterwards! One of the most interesting features of the Orange Sea Pen can only been seen by night though. When gently touched along the polyps, the Orange Sea Pen will emit light along its fronds, in a beautiful bioluminescent reaction!
Photos by: Graeme A. Barber