Anemone free to wander

A leatherjacket fish casts a wary eye on a nearby wandering sea anemone (Phlyctenactis tuberculosa) at the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre, at the University of Otago’s Portobello Marine Laboratory.

The anemone  is native to New Zealand and Australia. It can grow up to 20cm long, and is our country’s largest sea anemone.

Most sea anemones spend their life attached to a surface, but the wandering species "has opted for more mobile existence drifting among dense seaweed", Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand says.

Photo: Gregor Richardson
Photo: Gregor Richardson

Concealed tentacles are filled with stinging cells which poison and capture passing prey, including small fish.

Centre curator Adelle O’Neill said the "enigmatic" anemone, about 10cm long, was  found recently in Otago Harbour. 

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