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The Seashore

Dahlia Anemone (Urticina felina)

Dahlia Anemone (Urticina felina)

The column of this anemone is very broad and when extended forms a very large polyp. The body is warty and often sand grains and shell fragments are stuck to the surface. Colours vary from green to purplish-red. The large tentacles are translucent.

The sting cells (nematocysts) on the tentacles paralyse the prey and are triggered to fire by proteins on the surface of the food. They feel sticky to the touch as they fire the "harpoons" into the skin. As a carnivore, it feeds upon crustaceans, including crabs, shrimps and small fish. They tend to live in a crevice to prevent any significant water loss. Dahlia Anemones exhibit both asexual and sexual reproduction. The first method involves them budding internally to produce many small anemones, genetically identical. In this way they rapidly colonise the shore. Sperm is released by a male into the water where they swim and internally fertilise the female. She eventually releases minute sea anemones.

This common anemone is well camouflaged in crevices and under ledges. Mainly lower rocky seashores and widely distributed.

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