Bubble-tip anemone

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Bubble-tip anemone
Entacmaea quadricolor (Bubble tip anemone).jpg
A colony of Entacmaea quadricolor. Young individuals may have about 20 tentacles, with numbers increasing during their lifetime.[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Actiniaria
Family: Actiniidae
Genus: Entacmaea
Species: E. quadricolor
Binomial name
Entacmaea quadricolor
(Leuckart in Rüppell & Leuckart, 1828)[2]

Entacmaea quadricolor, commonly called bubble-tip anemone among other vernacular names, is a species of sea anemone in the family Actiniidae. Like several anemone species, E. quadricolor can support several clownfish species, and displays two growth types based on where they live in the water column, one of which gives it the common name, due to the bulbous tips on its tentacles.


Entacmaea quadricolor is widespread throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific area, including the Red Sea.[3]

Amphiprion melanopus anemonefish in a bubble anemone from East Timor

E. quadricolor anemones appear in a variety of morphs, including rose, orange, red, and standard green. This sea anemone can grow to be up to 30 centimetres (0.98 ft) in diameter, and obtains the majority of its energy from solar radiation via its symbiotic zooxanthellae.

A characteristic of E. quadricolor is its ability to maintain a symbiotic relationship with the clownfish, which can be "hosted" by the anemone by providing it with defence against predators and also providing some nourishment. In turn, the anemone provides the clownfish with shelter.

Nutrients are generally obtained by filter feeding using its sweeping tentacles, or through wastes and debris cleaned from the surface of its partner clownfish.

In the wild, E. quadricolor are found in two locations. Large adult specimens, with tentacles that are more streaming or stringy, are often found in deeper waters with more dimly lit conditions. These specimens are often solitary, while smaller, younger specimens are often located in groups or colonies nearer to the surface, in bright sunlight. These specimens tend to show the bulbous tips on their tentacles that are characteristic of E. quadricolor. The tips of the anemones remain not bulbuous as long as it is not hosted by a commensal fish.[4]


Shrimp on Red Sea bubble-tip anemone

In the wild, this anemone is a natural host of several species of anemonefishes, including the cinnamon (Amphiprion melanopus), tomato (A. frenatus), orange-fin (A. chrysopterus), Clark's (A. clarkii), false percula (A. ocellaris), percula (A. percula) and maroon (Premnas biaculeatus), as well as shrimps.


A group of individuals

In aquariums, E. quadricolor will reproduce asexually when in proper care with supplemented minerals such as iodine and other trace elements, usually purchased as an enrichment cocktail by most home aquarists. E. quadricolor is commonly kept in marine aquariums and comes in variety of colours, green being the most common.


  1. ^ Scott, Anna; Harrison, Peter L. (1 June 2008). "Larval settlement and juvenile development of sea anemones that provide habitat for anemonefish". Marine Biology (Berlin / Heidelberg: Springer) 154 (5): 833–839. doi:10.1007/s00227-008-0976-1. ISSN 0025-3162. 
  2. ^ Fautin, D. (2010). "Entacmaea quadricolor (Leuckart in Rüppell & Leuckart, 1828)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  3. ^ security (2014-02-09). "DORIS - FFESSM - Biologie et plongée - Faune et flore sous-marines et dulcicoles". Doris.ffessm.fr. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  4. ^ Fautin et Allen 1992, ch. 1, « Sea anemones : Entacmaea quadricolor (Rüppell & Leuckart, 1828)

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Media related to Entacmaea quadricolor at Wikimedia Commons
  • Marine Fish and Reef (2009). Article: True Sea Anemones by Vincent Hargreaves, PH.D.