Sea Anemones: (Pronunciation: Uh-nem-uh-nees)
Before I start about my quick view on Anemones, Wikipedia can do the more scientific explanation:
“Sea anemones are a group of water-dwelling, predatory animals of the order Actiniaria. They are named for the anemone, a terrestrial flower. Sea anemones are classified in the phylum Cnidaria, class Anthozoa, subclass Hexacorallia. Anthozoa often have large polyps that allow for digestion of larger prey and also lack a medusa stage. As cnidarians, sea anemones are related to corals, jellyfish, tube-dwelling anemones, and Hydra”.
Well I think Sea anemones are slightly easier to say and here in Cape Town we give them even easier names. But for the clever ones out there I will put the proper names in brackets. I have learned local names can differ from region to region so in a way it’s good to learn the tongue twister names.
They are all over the world and old “Nemo” loves them.
One of our biggest species is the False Plum Anemone (Pseudactinia flagellifera). They can devour almost anything they can fit into their mouths. I have seen west coast rock lobster, redbait, and even shy sharks sticking out of them. Spider crabs love to hind behind them as well.
Walking sock anemones ( Preactis millardae) are exceptional feeders and they can strip multi-coloured seafan (Acabaria rubra) polyps that only bare stalks are left. They are not stationary and move around more. Saying this some of the other anemones does have the ability to move as well. Juveniles can be sometimes incorrectly be mistaken as a type of nudibranch.
Most of the sea anemones have prime land and do not allow others to get close by. There are of course the exceptions like strawberry Anemones (Corynactis annulata) who can cover a rock or wall in a pink carpet. In other places in the world a similar specie is called Jewelled Anemones. The close -up of their tentacles are really stunning. A close up of the cup coral (Balanophyllia bonaespei) tentacle ends looks great as well. The Cup coral I always thought was an anemone but writing this blog I read it is not as it even has a skeleton thus it falls under the coral family.
The other carpet forming ones who are also a bit bigger than the strawberries are the striped anemones (halianthella annularis). Size them up and then the Sandy Anemones (Aulactinia reynaudi) come into play with a wide array of colours and we normally see them in the Atlantic side.
We can found sea anemones at depth, on rocks, kelp, crabs, shells and in the sand. Low tide anemones can be seen in rock pools and in tidal pools as well so everyone can have an opportunity to check them out. I can remember as a child tentatively putting my finger in a rock pool touching an anemone and pull back quickly when it feels like it is grabbing your finger with its tentacles.
On safety stops in Cape Town I prefer to get to a pinnacle at 5 meters thus the last 3 minutes of the dive I can still explore and take pics and normally between the redbait heads you find the best blue and red & yellow spotted Knobbly anemones(Bunodosama capensis).
In Summary Sea Anemones are a very well adapted organism who as a basic organism can survive almost everywhere.