jewels-of-the-sea

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The Featured Creature: Sea Sapphire: the Most Beautiful Animal You’ve Never Heard Of

This is the Sea Sapphire, an absolutely STUNNING marine copepod. Japanese fishermen would call a gathering of these creatures “tama-mizu”, or jeweled water.

Make sure to watch the VIDEO in the article!!

photos: Stefan Siebert, http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/bluemuseum, CIOERT, .gif from liquidguru vid

Corynactis viridis | ©João Pedro Silva   (Setubal, Portugal)

The jewel anemone is so-called because of its spectacular coloration. Individuals may be bright green, orange, red, pink or white and the tentacles and their tips are typically contrasting colours. The body of this anemone, correctly known as the ‘column’, is smooth, and has a rather squat appearance. Up to 100 tentacles, each terminating in a small swelling, are arranged in three rings around the mouth, which is situated at the top of a small cone. 

Sexual reproduction can lead to new color combinations of the tentacles and the oral disk. When anemones settle and grow in an area where they have good conditions (nutrient availability and available space) they can also reproduce asexually and create large patches of similar colored individuals.

Jewel anemones are frequent on south and west coasts as far north as northern Scotland; also occurs around southwest Europe and in the Mediterranean.

Animalia - Cnidaria - Anthozoa - Hexacorallia - Corallimorpharia - Corallimorphidae - Corynactis - C. viridis

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That poor jewel-coloured fairy basslet looks like a goner, at the mercy of a hungry nebulous lizardfish. Lizardfish are expert predators, burying their bodies in the sand, leaving only their eyes exposed to watch for prey. In this case, the lizardfish’s eyes were too big for its stomach, and it ended up spitting the basslet out because it was too much to swallow.

Image: Kjeld Friis