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!
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.
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.
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!)
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.