Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day Tube Anemone

The Day Tube Anemone (Cerianthus sp.) is a creature that looks plant-like but is, in fact, an animal. It lives within a long slimy tube that it forms from adhesive threads that it secretes. The tube is a very tough, durable structure that is open at both ends and is situated vertically in the substrate. The tentacles of the creature protrude from the upper end of the tube while the rest of the creature lives in and under the tube.

Photo Copyright 2011 by Barry Fackler

This particular species lives in deep water. This individual is at 117' depth in Honaunau Bay. Some types of tube anemones have survived in aquariums for over a hundred years. This one has been around ever since I started diving Honaunau around 12 years ago.

Photo Copyright 2011 by Barry Fackler

Among anemones, the tube anemones are unique in having two sets of tentacles. Short, oral tentacles surround the mouth while longer food-gathering tentacles are along the periphery. There may be several hundred tentacles in all. The two tentacle varieties can be distinguished in the photo above.

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