Sea Anemones

Topics: Cnidaria, Sea anemone, Polyp Pages: 3 (794 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Sea anemones are members of the Phylum Cnidarian. The cnidarians include the anemones, jellyfish, coral, Portuguese man-of-war and hydroids. Their characteristics include a soft body with two tissue layers arranged around a central gut cavity. A ring of tentacles surrounds a central mouth, and the tentacles endure stinging cells which contain nematocysts used to capture food and for defense. ("Marine Life Profile: Sea Anemones”) The two basic body forms among the cnidarians are the polyp, which looks flower-like, and lives attached to the seafloor; and the medusa (jellyfish), which is umbrella-shaped and floats in the water. In some cnidarians, the life cycle includes both the polyp form and the medusa form. Although less conspicuous there are more sea animals that are found on the oceans floor. Great gardens of beautiful creatures, sea anemones alone are comprised of a large group of simple animals called zooxanthellae, living within their tissues. (Doubilet) These symbiotic plants perform photosynthesis, and provide their host anemone with additional nutrition in the form of energy-rich compounds like sugars and starches. The anemone body is composed of a bonding pedal disc, or foot, a cylindrical body, and an arrangement of tentacles neighboring a central mouth. They possess form, symmetry and the usual life process associated with lower forms. They live attached to the seafloor by an adhesive basal disc. Sea anemones are capable of some movement. Muscles in the basal disc allow sea anemones to detach themselves from the bottom and crawl slowly so that they can relocate. (Freadhun) A panoramic journey around the bumpy shore reveals a multitude of extraordinary specimens. Some are expanded like pretty flowers at bloom. They can be of all sorts of colors and can be as small as half an inch (1.25 centimeters) or as high as 6 feet (1.8 meters) across. Others are folded in among themselves showing the less attractive exterior. There is an infinite variety of these...
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