Monday, September 06, 2010


How about we take a look at a sea anemone without one of those annoying clownfish in the way stealing all the focus?


Kind of magnificient in its own right n'est-ce pas? It should be; this is (I hope) Heteractis magnifica aka the magnificient anemone (also known by a number of other names including Ritter's anemone). This bad boy grows to almost 3 feet across and was (for understandable reasons) once a popular aquarium species. It will feed on both invertebrates and small fish and it tends to live in high surge, high light zones up on the reef. This surge is the reason for the windswept look above and also for the milky way looking background (surge = suspended particles = backscatter). This habitat is also the reason it is very, very hard to properly maintain in aquaria; Entacmaea quadricolor, the bubbletip anemone is a much better choice as it is easier to maintain and can be bred (well actually cloned) in captivity. Getting back to magnifica, the colour scheme can vary but this purple/green form seems pretty widespread. There also seems to be a pretty common bright red footed form and the tentacle colour varies with the health and type of the photosynthetic cells in the tentacle.

There were actually a couple of blackfooted anemone fish (the Maldives' endemic clownfish) in there somewhere. I think (hope!) I have some shots of those somewhere too for a later post but for now lets enjoy the anemone - it's more than just background filler out there on the reef.


Sally said...

Beautiful, Tai! Thanks so much bringing us astounding images of things some of us will never see...

tai haku said...

Thanks Sally. Glad you liked it. I'm always conscious that with underwater photos especially many people never get to see what I see so the smallest/commonest/less exciting stuff for me can be awesome for a lot of E,W&W readers.