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(Actiniaria), an order of marine Coelenterata from the class of coral polyps (Anthozoa). The sea anemones are solitary polyps and rarely form colonies. The body of the sea anemone is cylindrical (from several mm to 1.5 m across) and sacciform, with a muscular foot by means of which the animal can move slowly. On the upper end of the body there is a mouth surrounded by a crown of feelers. Species which lead an attached, fossorial, and free-swimming life are also known. The anemones are usually brightly colored.
Anemones are widely found; however, the majority dwell in tropical and subtropical waters. In the USSR they are found in the Black Sea, as well as in the northern and far eastern seas. Anemones are predators and feed on various small animals and even small fish; there are also mud-eating forms. The prey is seized by feelers armed with stinging cells, the “shots” of which paralyze or kill the victim. They can cause painful stings to human beings. Certain anemones live symbiotically with hermit crabs and other invertebrates.
REFERENCESDogel’, V. A. Zoologiia bespozvonochnykh, 5th ed. Moscow, 1959.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968. Pages 299–306.
F. A. PASTERNAK