Sea anemones are a group of coelenterate polyps whose shape is similar to a flower. They are classified in the phylum Coelenterata, class Anthozoa and subclass Actiniaria.

For many centuries, scientists debated whether sea anemones should be classified as plants, animals or both.

Only after they had observed carefully the way anemones move and feed, did they decide that sea anemones are animals.

Sea anemones are aquatic animals that can be found very close to Corfiot coasts. Some species live in deep waters and very few are found in open waters.

They are voracious eaters and since they consume large amounts of food, they grow fast.

The body of the sea anemone is divided into a number of chambers. The oesophagus is connected to these chambers through a gastrovascular cavity that circulates water which allows for respiration and excretion. Sea anemones have a column-shaped body attached at the bottom to the surface of another stable body whereas the other side ends in an oral disc which is surrounded by tentacles whose number differs from animal to animal.

Sea anemones are carnivores but since they can’t move easily, they depend on the food that gets caught on their extended tentacles or mouth.

Sea anemones use their cnidocytes to drug their prey which is then processed through their mouth and gastrovascular cavity to be digested.

Most anemones live attached to surfaces and very few live in colonies. Most of them are attached to rocks. Some others live in the sand or mud whereas others are attached to seashells of clams. Finally, some sea anemones survive living parasitically on jelly-fish.

Text Editor: Savina Gkioni, Hydrobiologist
Text Editor: Ada Kiriazi
Photography: Savina Gkioni
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