Rock flower anemone is the most colorful among all the species of anemones. We all know that most anemones are white or colorless but rock flowers are totally different. The most common colors are green, brown, lavender, red or yellow and its combinations. These creatures belong to the genus Phymanthus. The name of the species is Phymanthus crucifer. They are also known as flower anemones and red beaded anemone.
Sea anemones are cnidarians just like jellyfishes and corals. We can say that it is a type of jellyfish that can't swim or a coral that can move. They are more mobile than corals but not as jellies. They can grow up to 6 inches across but most are half of that size.
Rock flower anemones attach themselves with rocky sea bottoms with an adhesive leg like organ called a basal disc. There is a small tree trunk like body grows above it. The top is shaped like a round disc and bigger than the foot.
There is a mouth come anus in the center of their body disc. It is surrounded by hundreds of small and colorful tentacles. Though these things look cool don't touch them. These tentacles are armed with thousands of cnidocytes or stinging cells. Remember the jellyfish thing ! The stings are venomous and can be painful. But there is no need to worry much, the venom is not that strong to do any kind of damage.
The natural habitat of the rock flowers is the Caribbean sea. The rocky surface of the sea near the coral reefs is their living areas. The main body is kept hidden under the sand or loose gravels. So, the mouth disc is visible like a flower of the ocean bed. If it sense danger, the flower like shape can be pulled back by the animal. It can also hides inside crevices and holes on the rocky sea surface.
Rock flower anemones are not very bright because they have not a brain ! Yes, there nervous system is too primitive. They have no eyes or ears either. So, they can't see or hear anything.
These animals have no free swimming babies like that of jellyfishes. They are capable of both types of reproduction. The males release sperms which fertilize the eggs released by females. The fertilized eggs are called as granula. A granula attaches itself with a rock and developed into a polyp.
These anemones have a symbiotic relationship with some small sea animals. Asteropotius ungellatus, a copepod with an average body length of 1 mm uses it as a host. A small algae called zooxanthellae also have similar relationship with it. Small wentletrap sea snails often hide inside the safety of these anemones stinging tentacles.
Rock Flower Anemone in Aquarium
Due to its brilliant color the rock flower anemone is very popular among the salt water aquarium owners. Moreover, they are easy to keep. Rock flowers are less mobile than most other sea anemones. If they are not disturbed they will live on the same rocks for years. They can also quiet hardy animals and can withstand various water temperatures and light conditions.
They are carnivorous and so feed them accordingly. Common aquarium foods like mysis shrimps and silversides will do fine. They can also can thrive without extra special feeding. Hope, you have liked this article. Feel free to share it with your friends, you know sharing is caring.