Starburst Anemone - Anthopleura sola

Anthopleura sola (Actiniaria - Actiniidae) is a solitary anemone up to 25 cm wide, with pale, variously colored tentacles with pink, lavender, or blue tips, arranged in five rings around the oral disk. 

The Starburst Anemone commonly lives on exposed rocky surfaces and in tidepools and crevices, in the middle intertidal zone of semiprotected rocky coastlines, and can be found in the Pacific Ocean, along the west coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Douglass Moody | Locality: Royal Palms State Beach, San Pedro, California, US (2011)

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“Giant Green Anemone” (Anthopleura xanthogrammica)

Also known as the Green Surf Anemone, Green Anemone, Solitary Anemone, Rough Anemone, and the Giant Tidepool Anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica is a species of Actiniid sea anemone that inhabits low to mid intertidal zones in the Pacific Ocean, ranging from Alaska to Southern California and rarely down to Panama. Like other sea anemones A. xanthogrammica sports several nemoatocyst lined tentacles which are used to paralyze and capture prey that wanders too close. Phoyosynthetic algae of the genus Zoochlorella and dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium live in the tissue and gut of A. xanthogrammica, in this symbiotic relationship they will provide nutrients to the anemone via photosynthesis (partly giving the anemone its green coloration) and in turn they get a safe place to reside. 


Animalia-Cnidaria-Anthozoa-Hexacorallia-Actinaria-Nyantheae-Thenaria-Actiniidae-Anthopleura-A. xanthogrammica

Image: Stan Shebs

And the 2nd place winner in the “Sanctuary Life” category of our 2016 Get Into Your Sanctuary photo contest is Evan Barba! 

Evan, visitor to Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, photographed this sunburst anemone (Anthopleura sola) on a dive near Santa Cruz Island when he made a safety stop. Though anemones like this individual tend to collect sediment and debris over time, this one was found on a near-vertical rock face, leaving its beautiful coloration and patterning within easy view! 

(Photo: Evan Barba)

Aggregating Anemone - Anthopleura elegantissima

Anthopleura elegantissima is a sea anemone which commonly lives on exposed rocky surfaces and in tidepools and crevices. It is found in the middle intertidal zone of semiprotected rocky coastlines of both the outer coast and bays, along the west coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California.

As its common name suggests, this species is found in clonal groups of aggregating individuals. Individuals range from 2-5 cm across the oral disc, but are usually less then 3.5 cm across. The disc can be twice that size when extended. Solitary animals are larger, averaging 6.5 cm across the oral disc; once considered a solitary form of the same species, these larger, non-cloning individulas have recently been described as a sibling species, Anthopleura sola

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Richard Droker (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) | Locality: Washington coast, US (2011)

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The Pink-tipped Anemone or Aggregating Anemone - Anthopleura elegantissima

This anemone is commonly found in the intertidal zone in coastal regions of the Eastern Pacific. The tips of the tentacles in this anemone are often bright pink, but the rest of the body is actually colourless. The green and brown colours are due to microscopic algae living inside its tissues called zooxanthellae and zoochlorellae.

Brown hues are due to the zooxanthellae Symbiodinium californium and S. muscatinei, while green hues are due to the zoochlorella Elliptochloris marina. When the anemone grows in dark places, the algae in its tissues cannot survive, and the anemone remains white.

Moonglow Anemone - Anthopleura artemisia

Also referred to as Buried Green Anemone, and Burrowing Anemone, Anthopleura artemisia (Actiniaria - Actiniidae) is a species often found buried in a mixed sandy, shelled, and cobbled ocean floor, with only its tentacles and oral disc exposed.

This anemone has long, slim tentacles. It varies in color from grayish green to brown or black, though sometimes it has pink or orange tentacles like the pictured specimen. These anemones are solitary, and can reach 10 cm in diameter with a buried column to 25 cm long. They can be found on shorelines along the west coast of North America, from Alaska to Baja California.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Marlin Harms | Locality: Montana de Oro State Park, San Luis Obispo Co., California, US (2010)

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