With their 'heads' of waving, petal-like tentacles, sea anemones (class Anthozoa) look very like underwater flowers. They appear to be firmly attached to the rocks on which they sit, but they do move about and can change position by gliding slowly along -- sometimes they bend over and somersault to a new spot! Sea anemones change shape when the tide goes out, shriveling up into a blob until the water returns.
Although Sea Anemones look like flowers, they are predatory animals. These invertebrates have no skeleton at all. They live attached to firm objects in the seas, usually the sea floor, rock, or coral, but they can slide around very slowly. Sea anemones are very long lived. Hermit crabs sometimes attach sea anemones to their shells for camouflage.
Classification: Kingdom Animalia (animals), Phylum Coelenterata (corals, jellyfish, sea anemones, hydroids), Class Anthozoa meaning "flower-like animals" (corals and sea anemones), Order Actiniaria.
The Sea Anemone, is also called, "the flowers of the sea" and the Pale Anemone. The Sea Anemone is an invertebrate, "possessing no backbone" (95% of the earth's animals are invertebrates). Being part of the Cnidaria phylum they are family with corals, jellyfish, and hydras. Sea Anemones are found in Bermuda and around coastal North Carolina, and are also found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean. They have stinging cells in their tentacles, which allow Cnidarians to capture prey and also defend themselves from predators. They have a single body part that serves as the stomach, lung, intestine, and basically all other organs. They also have a mouth, which also acts as its anus. Surrounding the mouth the Sea Anemone as many tentacles which contain nematocysts at the ends. The Sea Anemones attach themselves to rocks, the ocean floor, or even mangrove roots, usually in shallow parts of the ocean just below the low-tide line. And once settled do not move unless they are unhappy with that location.
Habitat and Distribution: There are over 1000 species of anemones found in coastal waters worldwide, in shallow waters (including coral reefs), and in deep oceans.
Mutualism: Clown fish always live near anemones; they are immune from (and protected by) the stinging tentacles. The clown fish help the anemone by cleaning the tentacles (as the fish eat detritus) and perhaps by scaring away predators.
Anatomy: Sea Anemones come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Radially symmetric, they have a columnar body with a single body opening, the mouth, which is surrounded by tentacles. The tentacles protect the anemone and catch its food; they are studded with microscopic stinging capsules. Sea Anemones are usually about 1 to 4 inches (2.5-10 cm) across, but a few grow to be 6 feet (1.8 m) across.
The Sea Anemones have a symbiotic relationship with algae named zooxanthellae. The Sea Anemone and the zooxanthellae work together. The algae are found within the gastrodermal cells of the Anemone. The Sea Anemone uses the photosynthetic products from the zooxanthellae as their carbohydrates, and the zooxanthellae use the nutrients of the Anemone that come out of the Anemone as waste. These two organisms function as one using the other to benefit themselves.
Diet: Sea Anemones are carnivores that eat fish, mussels, zooplankton (like copepods, other small crustaceans, and tiny marine larvae), and worms. They catch food using the tentacles, which have poisonous stingers (called nematocysts).
Predators: Sea Anemones are eaten by very few animals. Their predators include the Grey Sea Slug and the Tompot Blenny.
Reproduction: Sea Anemones reproduce by lateral fission (in which an identical animal sprouts out of the anemone's side) and by sexual reproduction (in which anemones release eggs and sperm, producing free-swimming larvae).
Types Of Anemones
Class Anthozoa ( Sea anemones, Sea fans, Soft corals, Sea pens, and Jellyfish ) Beautiful Pictures