Tube anemone at the Aquarium, one orange in the background, a white one in the foreground and a purple one as a subject

Shoutout to cerianthid anemones—some of the original YouTube creators!

Tube anemones (Pachycerianthus fimbriatus) burst in beautiful bouquets in the sand banks abutting Monterey Bay’s bustling reefs. And like other famous tubes, these anemones do much of their work underground!

A white-tentacled tube anemone in a kelp forest, the kelp in the background is washed in green water

Using specialized cell structures known as “ptychocysts”which secrete a sticky substance, cerianthid anemones produce a tube several feet long that reaches into the muck with an “L” bend at its base to anchor the anemone into the sand bank.

Two tube anemones with lots of tentacles at the aquarium, the anemones are cream colored with a black background

The anemone itself can be over a foot long, and will rapidly retreat into its tube when disturbed—say by a barber slug (Dendronotus iris) looking for some spicy spaghetti.

A large purple and pink barber slug falling on to a tube anemone to snip some tentacles and being pulled in a bit to the tube as the anemone retreats

These tubular animals also create their own fireworks on the seafloor as well, and come in various colors from cream to purple to brilliant orange (and brightly fluorescent to the naked eye, though we’re not sure why!)

An orange tube anemone in the foreground with a few other tube anemones in the darkened background

You can find tube anemones at the Aquarium by the Monterey Bay Habitats exhibit, where many of these beauties are home grown thanks to aquarist extraordinaire Christy’s breakthroughs in raising new generations of tube anemones.

A multi-colored array of tube anemones homegrown at the Aquarium int he sand, with oranges and purples and creams

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