Health

Anemones can detach from rocks and swim, and it looks hilarious.

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Despite having grown up in the Puget Sound area, and visiting my share of touch tanks and aquariums, I had no idea that some local species of sea anemone could swim! It's been known for a long time, at least since the publication of this paper in 1955 in the journal Science. The authors accidentally discovered that the sea anemone Stomphia coccinea can detach itself from rocks and swim away when confronted with a starfish predator. And not only that, while swimming, the anemones look... pretty funny: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6lMD9h_ix4[/embed] "Swimming" Anemone from Puget Sound. "Extensive dredging operations have been carried out in recent years by the department of oceanography of the University of Washington in a study of the distribution and assemblage patterns of plants and animals in Puget Sound. While dredging was being carried out in an area north of Seattle, collections were made of several specimens of an anemone identified by Cadet Hand of the University of California as Stomphia coccinea. These animals were placed in aquariums that are provided with a constant flow of filtered sea water maintained at a temperature of 1O C, the approximate mean surface water temperature in Puget Sound. By accident it was discovered that the attached anemones would free themselves and exhibit a spasmodic "swimming" motion in response to immediate contact with certain starfish. Preliminary experimentation showed that the swimming response occurred when one of the following starfish -Crossaster papposus, Hippasteria spinosa, or Dermasterias sp. was placed in contact with the anemone, whereas no swimming response occurred when one of the asteroids Solaster sp., Mediaster aequalis, Henrici leviuscula, Pisaster ap. Evasterias sp. or any ophiuroid was used." Related content: Ba-dum… Ba-dum… Ba-dum… Turns out shark music is bad for sharks.How do boneworms dissolve bones?Researchers identify mysterious sounds first heard by 1960s submarines.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!

Subscribe

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.