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Snakelocks anemone

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Snakelocks anemone
Anemonia viridis.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Anemonia viridis

Image Description

Containing follicles that resemble the many hairs of a hardcore D.J., the snakelocks anemone has a stunning appearance. With its many colors and swaying motions, one would deem this creature to be a peaceful under-water plant. But the reality of this being is a vicious death trap waiting for any helpless victim to fall prey into its pandemonic tentacles. The true nature of this being is to use its powerful stinging cells to paralyze its victim and then slowly, without mercy, digest its helpless meal. The snakelocks will eat anything ranging from small fish to gastropods and even crustaceans. Once its prey is ingested, the nutrients will feed the algae inside its tentacles, which provides its natural green color. Aside from its eating habits, the sting of the snakelocks is said to be more painful than a jellyfish, and in most cases will cause a rash or scar its victims. This indeed is no underwater lily, the snakelocks is a shallow-water nightmare to be feared by all.



The snakelocks harbor a yellow-green or yellow-brown algae called zooxanthellae as an endosymbiont. This zooxanthellae is a tissue that is fed by intense light that can only be provided by shallow waters which much light passes through. If they do not get the light needed to survive, the tentacles will retract and become colorless, indicating that the snakelocks is either dead or dying due to the lack of sunshine.


The snakelocks has two forms of reproduction. It reproduces by budding (a process in which the snakelocks will make an identical half of itsself). This process may be known as longitudinal fission; meaning that the "fission" (to split in half) is extending along the long axis of the body, in other words, from head to the tail. This "longitudinal fission" can take hours or minutes to perform. They can also reproduce through regeneration - a bodily function in which the invertebrate will re-grow any lost appendages. Considering these two reproductional functions, snakelocks is truly an amazing creature.



The snakelocks will mainly eat things like: small fish, gastropods, crustaceans, and all sorts of things that would dare enter into its jaws. Whether they are dead or alive, the victims are caught by the leafy, snake-like tentacles of the snakelocks. What is keeping the victims from escaping these tentacles you ask? Well, my voracious scientist, there happen to be hundreds of tiny harpoon-like structures vested inside the snakelocks tentacles. Undetectable by the naked eye, these harpoon-like structures known as nematocysts will shoot out of the snakelocks and emit a venom that may be either paralytical or even lethal. After the victim has been caught by these dangerous harpoons(also known as stinging cells)it is then absorbed into its body the same way a Venus Flytrap eats an insect.


They will usually be located in shallow waters or certain interlocked-tidal areas. They have specific light preferences such as the light generated by 80 watts of electricity which is equivalent to 50,000 lux (lux is a unit of illumination equal to 1 lumen per square meter).

Stinging Cells

The venomous stinging cells of the snakelocks can leave a violent rash on anyone whom dares cross its tentacles. This rash may last for weeks to a month, its mark can be even more painful than a Jellyfish sting. The sting may cause an irritating, itching feeling with a constant feeling of inflammation. In some cases, scars have formed from the terrible rash that the ominous sting will cause. There have also been reports of these marks being very similar to stinging nettles (which are found on land as plants). In light of the latter statement, we may conclude saying that the Snakelocks Anemone is almost like an underwater stinging nettle.



  • [1] various authors, British Marine Life Study Society, 1997-2008
  • [2] Dr Keith Hiscock, Hiscock, K., 2008. Anemonia viridis. Snakelocks anemone. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. , 29/04/2008.
  • [3] unknown, Malawi Cichlid Homepage, 1999-2006.