Range/Geographical Distribution: From North Carolina to Brazil, but not the Gulf of Mexico.
Habitat: Along the coast on sandy substrates.
Description: The sea pansy is a small, petal-like frond covered in polyps with a thick purple stem that anchors the organism into the sand.
Size: Can reach a total length of three inches, with the frond reaching a diameter of two inches.
Food: Suspension feeder; eats plankton.
Breeding: Can reproduce asexually by budding or sexually by releasing gametes.
Predators: Striped sea slug.
Conservation Status: No legal status.
Interesting Facts: The sea pansy displays a green bioluminescence when it is disturbed. The purple color and rigidity of the sea pansy’s body is due to the presence of calcium carbonate spicules within its tissues.
On the Coast: Sea pansies are common along the shallow sandy areas of Georgia’s coast, especially during the winter months.