Ocean Species Profile: Sea Anemones

Sea anemones are the brightly colored, flower-like relatives of coral and jellyfish. You've probably seen sea anemones in the touch tanks at your local aquarium. You might also recognize them as Nemo's home in Disney's Finding Nemo. If you have visited sea anemones in an aquarium touch tank, you probably noticed that they feel a bit sticky. That's because anemone tentacles are triggered by even the slightest touch. With even the gentlest touch, anemones can inject a paralyzing neurotoxin (dangerous venom). Don't worry! Anemone venom doesn't affect humans, but it is deadly to most small ocean fish, with the exception of clownfish. Once fish have been paralyzed by the venom, their frozen bodies are guided by the anemone's tentacles into its mouth. 

There are more than 1,000 sea anemone species throughout the world's oceans. They live at all different depths, but most live in coastal tide pool like areas. They also come in all different sixes - from a half an inch to an entire 6 feet wide. Can you imagine seeing an anemone that is 6 feet wide? That's bigger than the average American man is tall!