Tricolor Anemone

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Tricolor Anemone

Calliactis tricolor

Range/Geographical Distribution: North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

Habitat: Grows on the shells of hermit crabs, box crabs, and snails; also attaches to shell rubble and other hard surfaces.

Description: A conical-shaped anemone with up to 200 short tentacles around a violet colored mouth. Body tan in color with several cream stripes.

Size: Can reach two inches in diameter and height.

Food:  Omnivores; eat crustaceans and algae.

Breeding:  Can reproduce asexually by longitudinal fission.  Scientists assume it also reproduces sexually but this behavior has not been observed.

Predators:  Stinging cells discourage most predators.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: Tricolor anemones form a symbiotic relationship with crabs.  The crab provides movement and food scrapes to the anemone and the anemone provides protection and camouflage to for the crab.

On the Coast:  Tricolor anemones are common along the Georgia coast but are usually seen as a small gelatinous ball washed up on the beach.

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