Marine Animal Encyclopedia
Tube Anemone Cerianthus membranaceus
The long, pale tentacles of the tube anemone make a spectacular display but at the slightest disturbance, the animal will disappear down its tube in an instant. Tube anemones look superficially like true anemones but are more closely related to black corals (see Bushy Black Coral). They live in tubes made of sediment-encrusted mucus that can be up to 3 ft (1 m) long even though the animals are only about a third of this length. The slippery lining of the tube allows the animal to retreat rapidly. As well as about 100 long, slender outer tentacles, the animal has an inner ring of very short tentacles surrounding the mouth. The outer tentacles may look dangerous, but the tube anemone feeds only on plankton and suspended organic debris.