Frilled Sea Anemone
Frilled Sea Anemones are brownish-orange in color with many (up to 1,000) tentacles protruding from Mickey-Mouse-ear-shaped projections. These tentacles are extended when feeding, and when distraught they retract their tentacles to transform into a less distinguishable brown lump. Frilled Sea Anemones are commonly found under wet rocks in the intertidal zone, in tide pools, on pilings, on floating docks, and up to 30 meters (98 feet) deep1.
Frilled sea anemones belong to the phylum Cnidaria (includes jellyfish, hydra, anemones, etc.), which is distinguished by having organisms with sticking cells called cnidocytes with stinging organelles called nematocysts along their tentacles. Frilled sea anemones can discharge elongated threads of stinging cells. Many species from the phylum Cnidaria have a polyp and medusa form in their life cycle, but the anemones exist only as polyps. Polyps are usually attached to a substrate with their tentacles facing upwards. The medusa body type is usually bell-shaped like that of a typical jellyfish, which is free floating/swimming with the tentacles hanging below.
Size: 7cm (4 in) – 45 cm (18 in) (1); other source agrees 46 cm (18”)
Range: Arctic to Delaware; Alaska to Southern California2
Reproduction: sexual or asexual2; they can reproduce asexually by dividing lengthwise or by moving across a substrate leaving tiny portions of tissue behind from the pedal disk that grow into anemones.2
1. Watling, L., Fegley, J., Moring, J., White, S., Sulzer, A. (2003) Life Between the Tides. Tilbury House Pub
2. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashore Creatures