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Apple anemone

Apple anemones

Not on Exhibit

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Stomphia didemon

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    small crustaceans

  • Size

    up to 8 inches tall (21 cm)

  • Relatives

    true jellies, corals, hydrozoans; Phylum: Cnidarians; Class: Anthozoa

  • Habitat

    Deep Sea

  • Range

    200 to 600 feet (60-180 meters)

Natural History

The apple anemone is a delicate pink—a color much like a spring flower. Anemones—sometimes called flowers of the sea—are ancient and successful animals. They lack definite heads, but have a ring of tentacles around a mouth that opens into a tubelike body cavity, where food is digested. The tentacles of the apple anemone are stubby rather than long, and number at least 160 in adults.

The apple anemone is also known as the "cowardly" or "swimming" anemone. When disturbed, it can detach itself and "swim" to safer (usually deeper) waters, or form a tight, apple-shaped ball—a position it also takes when digesting food.


Ninety percent of the living space on Earth is found in the ocean. Below the photic level (300 ft.)—which is too dark for photosynthesis—many, many animals depend on food that drifts down into the depths. If contaminants such as pesticides, used motor oil and paint solvents are dumped into storm drains, these harmful materials settle in the deep sea. To be stewards of the sea, we must dispose of harmful substances properly.

Cool Facts

The apple anemone is one of the largest anemones found in the deep sea.

The apple anemone has a broad column or base. But it's not immobile as are most anemones. When threatened, it elongates and sways from side to side to detach itself from the bottom. It then "swims" away by rapidly flexing or bending its column or by thrashing its tentacles.

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