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Ghost Anemone

Diadumene leucolena

Ghost anemones have transparent, jelly-like bodies with a whitish or pinkish tint. A circle of 40 to 60 petal-like tentacles grows from the top of an elongated stalk. (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)
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Ghost anemones have transparent, jelly-like bodies with a whitish or pinkish tint. A circle of 40 to 60 petal-like tentacles grows from the top of an elongated stalk. (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)

The ghost anemone is a jelly-like invertebrate with a flat, rounded base and stinging tentacles at the top of an elongated stalk. It lives on rocks, reefs, pilings and other hard surfaces throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

Appearance:

The ghost anemone grows to 1.5 inches tall and one-half inch wide. Its jelly-like, transparent body has a whitish or pinkish tint. It has a flat, rounded base and an elogated stalk, with a circle of 40 to 60 petal-like tentacles growing from the top. Its tiny mouth is in the center of this circle of tentacles.

Habitat:

Lives on rocks, reefs, pilings and other hard surfaces in shallow waters. Moves by manipulating the base of its body, similar to an inchworm.

Range:

Found throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

Feeding:

The ghost anemone eats plankton and tiny fish, using its stinging tentacles to stun and capture its prey, then push the prey into its mouth.

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

Ghost anemones reproduce both sexually and asexually. Asexual reproduction takes place when a new, identical anemone sprouts from the base of the body. To reproduce sexually, anemones release eggs and sperm into the water. Eggs produce free-swimming larvae that eventually settle onto a hard surface.

Other Facts:

  • Ghost anemones are related to sea nettles. Just like the notorious jellyfish, anemones have stinging tentacles.
  • Even though they are always attached to a hard surface, anemones can move relatively quickly—up to several inches in just a few hours.

Sources and Additional Information:


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