DATABASES: Caught Up in Anemones

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Science  22 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5525, pp. 2223
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5525.2223b

Although it looks as innocuous as a flower, a sea anemone is more like a bear trap set to slam on an unsuspecting fish or other prey. Hexacorallians of the World has gathered a trove of information on the distribution and taxonomy of sea anemones, corals, and related gelatinous creatures, collectively known as hexacorals.

Hosted by the University of Kansas, the site holds entries for more than 1800 species, listing where type specimens were collected and which of more than 30 museums around the world holds them now, as well as references for original descriptions in the literature. Taxonomists can also get a listing of a species' former names or prowl the rich bibliography that includes publications from as far back as 1756. Many entries also provide drawings or photos from original papers or from unpublished collections. And for a wealth of data on hexacoral distribution, click on the interactive world map.

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