Frilled anemones have innumerable fine and mostly white tentacles.

Ozeaneum, Foundation German Oceanographic Museum

Ozeaneum, Foundation German Oceanographic Museum

Hidden beauties in the North Sea tank

Although they usually remain motionless, with their only sign of life coming from the gentle movements of their tentacles, Anthozoa like frilled anemones or fish-eating anemones are more than just decoration in our tanks. Both of these species, which are primarily spread across the North, are worth a closer look in the North Sea tank at the OZEANEUM. In the Baltic Sea, the Cnidaria belonging to the anemone family are only found in the more saline areas closer to the North Sea.

Though not quite as well-known as their tropical relatives made famous in Finding Nemo, the frilled anemone and fish-eating anemone bring a bit of color to the otherwise drab marine world of the northern seas. Their tentacles or powerful feet can range in color from bright white to brown and purple.

Although very similar in structure, both solitary predator species can be easily differentiated by their appearance. While in the frilled anemone has myriad subtle and mostly white tentacles, these are much thicker and stronger on the fish-eating anemone. The same applies to the so-called foot, which they use to affix themselves to the solid or rocky ground. This can grow to a length of 30 centimeters in the adult stage. Anthozoans’ muscular basal discs make them quite capable of getting around – albeit very slowly. If tiny pieces of the basal disc get stuck somewhere, these in turn grow to become an individual, identical animal. Both also engage in sexual reproduction.

However, there are differences in their feeding behavior. The frilled anemone prefers plankton floating in water, while the fish-eating anemone is capable of catching fish and crustaceans.

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  • Title: Frilled anemones have innumerable fine and mostly white tentacles.
  • Location: Ozeaneum Stralsund, Stiftung Deutsches Meeresmuseum
  • Rights: photo: Johannes-Maria Schlorke