Tube-Dwelling Anemone

The Tube-Dwelling Anemone (Cerianthus membranaceus) is a marine (saltwater) invertebrate, without a backbone. It is an animal, not a plant. It is also known as the Cylinder Anemone.

The Tube-Dwelling Anemone has about 200 tentacles in two whorls around its central mouth, called an oral disc. The tentacles along the outer whorl are long and slender with stinging cells. The tentacles along the inner whorl are shorter. The tentacles can be many colours, such as white, yellow, orange, green, brown, blue, black, purple, pink, and violet.

The tentacles do not retract, but the whole animal can retract into its tube. It has a long cylindrical column which is buried in the soil. The tube is its permanent home.

Tube-Dwelling Anemone

The oral disc has a diameter of up to 40 centimetres (16 inches) wide. The tubular column grows up to about 40 centimetres (16 inches) long. 

It is native to the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It prefers rocky areas along the coast. It lives on the sea bed in shallow water in lagoons and reefs.

It feeds on small fish and molluscs. It uses the stinging cells in its tentacles to catch its food and to protect itself from predators. Its main predators include sea stars (starfish) and sea snails.

It is solitary. 

The female lays eggs in the water. When they hatch into larvae, the larvae float and drift in the sea until fully grown. When they are fully grown adults, they become benthic – living on the bottom of the ocean. 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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