The tentacles of anemones in deep or murky water can be a grey colour, but are otherwise usually a deep green colour with purple tips due to the presence of symbiotic algae within the tentacles that use sunlight as an energy source. As a result, the anemones prefer brightly lit shallow waters. On average the snakelock anemone is 8 cm wide.
Unlike other cnidarians, anemones (and other Anthozoa) entirely lack the free-swimming medusa stage of the life cycle; the polyp produces eggs and sperm, and the fertilized egg develops into a planula that develops directly into another polyp.
Relationship with other animals
Several species of small animals regularly live in a symbiotic or commensal relationship with the snakelocks anemone, gaining protection from predators by residing among the venomous tentacles. These include the Incognitus (or anemone) goby, formerly known as Gobius buchichi (Gobius incognitus), the shrimp Periclimenes aegylios and the Leach's spider crab (Inachus phalangium).
This species is widely consumed in southwestern Spain, in the Gulf of Cádiz region, as ortiguillas de mar (literally, "little sea nettles", because it has urticant properties before it is cooked), or simply ortiguillas. The whole animal is marinated in vinegar, coated in a tempura-like batter, and deep-fried in olive oil. Ortiguillas are offered in some coastal Andalusian restaurants as a delicacy. They are similar in appearance and texture to croquettes, but have a strong seafood taste. This anemone is also consumed in Sardinia, where it is deep fried in olive oil and known as orziadas.
It is becoming a popular aquarium pet, especially in Europe and readily adapts to aquaria.
- Dr Keith Hiscock 2008. Anemonia viridis. Snakelocks anemone. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25/06/2013]. Available from: <http://www.marlin.ac.uk/speciesinformation.php?speciesID=2517>
- Debelius, H. (1997). Mediterranean and Atlantic Fish Guide. p. 245. ISBN 978-3925919541
- Debelius, H. (2001). Crustacea Guide of the World. pp. 26 and 89. ISBN 978-3931702748
- Receta: Ortiguillas de Mar
- Media related to Ortiguillas at Wikimedia Commons
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