The (Sea) anemones are named after the flowers of the anemone on land. Most anomas are solitary polyps, have no skeleton but do have tentacles that contain stinging cells. The tentacles are used to catch food, which can be small food particles or small fish that are paralyzed by the stinging cells in the tentacles.

Walking Anemones

Anemones occur on different surfaces, some have a foot that burrows into the sand, and others suck themselves onto a hard surface such as coral. If the anemone feels that the place where it is standing does not provide enough food or that another place is better lit, it can move with its foot. It then “walks” to another location. Some anemone species can reproduce by dividing, the split part will then walk to its own place.


Many Anemones contain small, single-celled algae species (the so-called Zooxanthellae) that give the anemone its color. These algae live in symbiosis with the anemone. This color effect can vary from deep blue, orange, and brown to fluorescent green or red. The algae convert the coral’s carbon dioxide into oxygen, which is needed to keep the anemone alive. It is believed that the corals use the oxygen and carbohydrates produced by the algae for their own metabolism and that the algae benefit from the carbon dioxide and other waste products excreted by the coral. As a result, the anemones need quite a lot of light. The Zooxanthellae in the anemone can die as a result of external influences, such as too high a temperature. This bleaches the anemone and eventually, the anemone will die.


A number of anemones live in symbiosis with fish (for example the Anemonefish), hermit crabs or shrimps and gobies.