Tidepools Host Gorgeous Warty Anemones that Look Like Flowers

Our tidepools are always a fascinating place to explore, and the other morning I found a whole group of flower-like Warty Anemones right at the edge of one of the dead trees on the beach.  The tide swirls around these trees and goes out, leaving behind tidepools that host a bunch of interesting invertebrates and even fish.  At first glance, they seemed interesting, but when I put a great big waterproof lens up to them, a whole new world emerged.

The warty anemone, bunodosoma cavernata, is very similar to the tricolor anemone in structure.  It is named for the tiny warts that you might be able to see along its column, but that part of the anemone is usually buried in the sand.  It is motile, so it can actually move around, but it’s an arduous procedure.  Like the tricolor, a ring of tentacles surrounds the mouth, which allows the anemone to capture prey.  They often live near structures with tiny mussels called scorched mussels, and at least one study provides evidence that they eat these mussels.

Warty anemone vs tricolor anemone

Warty anemones and tricolor anemones are both found in our tidepools.  Warty anemones are more likely to be anchored to the structure of standing old trees on the beach, the edges of jetties or right in the sand, while tricolor anemones are more likely to be attached to something that moves or floats around like a piece of sea lettuce on on a living invertebrate like the shell of a hermit crab or horseshoe crab.  

Up close looks at warty anemones

Out of the water, they just look like blobs of runny jelly, though if you look closely you can see the tentacles and structure of the anemone.

I had so much fun with this one because I am trying out a new macro lens from Laowa that can actually go in the water.  There is a light on the end, so it allowed me to get right into the action and really capture the way this anemone interacted with other tiny creatures in this sort of “reef ecosystem.”  Can’t wait to see what we find next!