Creature of the Month: Burrowing Anemone

burrowing anemoneThis common species – Cerianthus lloydii – is not a true anemone but a tube anemone. Instead of attaching itself to a rock it lives in a soft felt-like tube protruding above sand or mud. The anemone’s tentacles are usually all that is visible. The inner set circle the mouth and are short and stiff. The long, flexible and attractive outer ones, over 100 of them, sweep prey inwards. When disturbed the whole anemone shoots back into its tube, like a tubeworm. The tentacle crown measures up to 10 cm across.

Cerianthus lloydiiThe animals live from the shallows down to 100 m. The tentacles may be white, brown, green or banded.

You can find the burrowing anemone around the British Isles and in North West Europe to the Bay of Biscay.

Further Reading:
Great British Marine Animals, by Paul Naylor, Deltor (2003)

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