A myriad of colour patches cover the rock when jewel anemones make it their home.
These flower-like animals, up to 2.5 cm (1″) across, catch prey with their 100 ball-tipped tentacles and paralyse them with their nematocysts.
They favour fast-flowing water, so look for anemones where strong currents occur from shore level to down as deep as 80 m.
The reason for the large patches of jewel anemones is their capacity for asexual reproduction. The adult anemone splits itself longitudinally into two which when repeated forms large colonies.
Water pressure inside the body maintains the anemone’s shape and provides a base for muscle action.
Different species of jewel anemones are found in temperate waters around the world. Corynactis viridis occurs around the British Isles, South West Europe and in the Mediteranean. C. californica (also known as the strawberry anemone) is found from San Diego to British Columbia. C. autralis livesaround South East Australia.
Photo credits: Tim Nicholson. More of Tim’s photos are on the SCUBA Travel website.