Where do sea anemones live?


Quick Answer

Sea anemones are found clinging to sea ice at the poles, adorning coral reefs in the tropics and throughout the world's oceans. The vast majority of sea anemones are found in shallow waters, though scientists have identified species that live at depths of approximately 33,000 feet.

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Full Answer

Sea anemones are stinging polyps that live on the ocean floor or attach themselves to coral reefs. There are more than 1,000 species of sea anemones found throughout the world's oceans. All sea anemones are carnivorous animals, subsisting on a diet of fish and shrimp captured with venomous tentacles. Sea anemones exhibit an array of colors, shapes and sizes.

In the Indo-Pacific region, there are several species of anemones that form symbiotic relationships with clownfish, which can live among an anemone's tentacles without being stung. This is accomplished via a mucus membrane that covers the clownfish. However, while some clownfish are naturally immune to the sting of the anemone, others must gradually acquire immunity.

Once the clownfish establishes immunity from the sting of the anemone, it becomes the clownfish's permanent home. In exchange for protecting the clownfish from predators, the anemone feeds on the food the clownfish leaves behind.

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