Anemones - Plants or Animals?

Sea anemones are animals but they were given a nickname because they resembled bright, colorful anemone flowers that grow on land.

Shown here is Macrodactyla doreensis - the corkscrew anemone. It measures approximately 5 inches across, not including the tentacle lengths.


Factoid:  Here's what Dr. Cuthbert Collingwood, a researcher back in 1868 had to say when he "discovered" anemonefish.

"I noticed a very pretty little fish which hovered in the water close by, and nearly over the anemone. This fish was six inches long, the head bright orange, and the body vertically banded with broad rings of opaque white and orange alternatively, three bands of each. I made several attempts to catch it; but it always eluded my efforts. Not darting away, however, as might be expected, but always returning presently to the same spot. Wandering about in search of shells and animals, I visited from time to time the place where the anemone was fixed, and each time, in spite of all my disturbance of it, I found the little fish there also."

Dr. Cuthbert Collingwood: Rambles of a Naturalist on the Shores and Waters of the China Sea (John Murray, London, 1868, page 151)


Macrodactyla doreensis - the corkscrew anemone

The oral disk in the center is where the anemone both takes in and expels food.

Heteractis crispa - Leathery Sea Anemone. Shown living inside its poisonous tentacles is Amphiprion clarkii, Clark’s anemonefish.

Clark's anemonefish in Heteractis crispa, the leathery sea anemone.