Next time you’re down on the docks at low tide take a peek down a piling into the water below. See any big white flowers attached to it that are waving in the current? Those are plumose anemones, and flowers they are definitely not! They’re actually animals, predators on the prowl for small larvae and other tasty organisms that pass by.
While they look permanently attached to the piling or rock, if attacked by a sea star or nudibranch anemones can instantly leap for safety in an ungainly jump. In fact, large solitary anemones can be found far away from the vast gardens of larger family groups, showing they really can do a ‘walk about.’ Anemones begin life when a fragment from the base of a large anemone breaks off and grows into a tiny but genetically-identical new one. These clones start life as one sex but changes to the other when it is older. Quite a critter, don’t you think?
Larry paints and blogs about wild places at larryeifert.com. His work can be seen in many national parks across America.