Wednesday 28 September 2016

Berried Anemone

Image: Oceana in Europe
Alicia mirabilis
Well now, that's a lot of berries. A whole pile of them, in fact.

But where's the anemone?

Image: Paco Lopez
Oh wow, there we go!

Seems strange to disguise yourself as a pile of fruit but I guess it keeps the carnivores away.

Image: Giuseppe Di Giovanni
The Berried Anemone is a strange sea anemone. By day, they're very much Berried Anemones. They look like a pile of berries plastered to a rock in the Mediterranean Sea.

Tut tut. Mermaids, ay? It's all very well going for picnics, but please don't litter. Haven't they heard the expression 'take only pictures, leave only footprints'? Just because you're a mermaid and can't actually leave footprints doesn't mean you get to leave piles of food around instead.

Image: Philippe Guillaume
Anyway. When night falls, Berried Anemones change completely. They wake up and they yawn and they stretch and they stretch and they stretch and they stretch. Suddenly they don't look so Berried any more. Now they're very much Alicia mirabilis.

It sounds like the lead singer of an 80's goth band. Sort of looks like one, too, with the crazy hair and a weird white dress, because goths can't where white without doing something weird to it first. Alicia means something like 'noble one' and mirabilis means 'astonishing' or 'miraculous' or some other 'gosh, wow, look at that!' type thing.

And it is, very definitely, 'gosh, wow'. A fully extended Berried Anemone can reach some 40 cm (16 in) tall, their berries all spread out along their body column. That height doesn't include the tentacles. These things can reach a good 90 cm (3 ft) long when they're stretched out. They're quite strange, being nice and thick near the column before curling up like a tendril closer to the tip.

When it's all unfurled it looks like a bunch of tentacles each waving a really tiny tentacle in the current. It's so unfair! Even tentacles have tentacles! I've got barely any.

Image: Pablo Bou
The tentacles are, of course, full of stinging cells for catching fish and other prey. And, er... so are the berries. Keep away from the berries!

Maybe it's not so bad a disguise after all?

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