Lebrunia neglecta

Within the family Aliciidae we find the genus Lebrunia. In it there are only 3 species, and one of them is Lebrunia neglecta. It is an anemone that lives in waters up to 60 meters in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, predominantly in reef waters.

The size of Lebrunia neglecta can reach up to 20 cm in diameter, in which stand out some pseudo-tentacles that grow from the margin of the oral disc, and that branch forming a very dense structure. These are brown with whitish ends. In reality Lebrunia neglecta also has true tentacles, although these are practically hidden among the pseudo-tentacles.

Inside the tissue of Lebrunia neglecta specimens we find Symbiodinium algae living in symbiosis. These photosynthetic algae provide the anemone with a food source in exchange for the protection provided by the anemone to the algae. The other food source is obtained through the capture by the pseudo tentacles of zooplankton prey. When one of the pseudo-tentacles manages to capture some prey, they retract, revealing the real tentacles that will be responsible for transporting the prey to the mouth opening of the specimen.

Lebrunia neglecta is very similar in appearance to Lebrunia coralligens. The difference is that in the latter its pseudo-tentacles are much less branched and often have more globular tips.

Several invertebrates can establish association relationships with Lebrunia neglecta. For example, Pederson's cleaner shrimp (Ancylomenes pedersoni), the spotted cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes yucatanicus), the shrimp Periclimenes rathbunae, the shrimp Thor amboinensis, the arrow crab Stenorhynchus seticornis or the anemone crab Mithraculus cinctimanus obtain protection from the anemone, and in return keep it free of dirt and debris carried by the currents. These species in association can either be found among the anemone's own tentacles/pseudo-tentacles or in the vicinity of the anemone.