Friday 20 July 2012

Venus Flytrap Sea Anemone

Image: Aquapix and Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007, NOAA-OE
Man, I love animals that look like nothing more than a great, big mouth! This thing is just a gob on a stick!

To be clear, the stick isn't part of its body! This intrepid individual seems to have climbed up there for a better view.

Image: Aquapix and Expedition to the Deep Slope 2007, NOAA-OE
Those tentacles certainly are part of the body, though. These are members of Actinoscyphiidae, a family of deep sea Sea Anemones that resemble Venus Flytraps and reach up to 30 cm (a foot) across. The tentacle-teeth on this one look strangely pretty, like a really elegant torture device. The rest of the body looks tough and almost scaly.

Another bit of prettiness is the bioluminescent mucus they release when disturbed. I'm telling you, we haven't even scratched the surface of what our mucus could be doing for us!

These flytraps are a lot more proactive than most Sea Anemones, as they can close around fish and crustaceans to make absolutely sure nothing gets away.

Image: SERPENT Media Archive Project
I guess that's what this one is doing.

Image: SERPENT Media Archive Project
This, on the other hand, is the loneliest thing I've seen quite some time.


TexWisGirl said...

from all teeth to all gums to...

Anonymous said...

Wow, that sea anemone is amazing.. probably looks vicious to its prey!

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: I dread to think what comes next!

@Madge Bloom: They look vicious already! If they were bigger than I am and ate me too... *shudder*