learn only 3 things about them ...
Small carpet anemones may be hidden under seaweed. Don't
step on them!
You may touch them gently, but please don't poke them.
don't feed the anemone or 'rescue' any of its prey
This enormous anemone bigger than your face is commonly seen on many
of shores. In sandy areas, among seagrasses and also on coral rubble.
Features: Diameter 40-50cm when
fully expanded, but is said to reach up to 75-80cm. The large oral
disk is densely covered with short tentacles so that it resembles
a short-pile carpet. Tentacles short, stubby and may have bulbous
tips, sometimes resembling beads. Tentacles are sticky. The outer
edge of the oral disk is fringed with tentacles that are twice as
long (exocoelic tentacles), alternating with short ones (endocoelic
tentacles). The long body column is usually buried and ends in a pedal
disk that anchors the animal. Small bumps (verrucae) on the body column
are non-adhesive, small and not visible as they are usually the same
colour as the body colum. These animals come in various colours from
deep purple, a fresh green to muted pastel blue, green and grey. Andy
Dinesh took a video clip of these anemones
flourescing under black light!
Sometimes mistaken for other carpet
anemones and other large anemones. Here's more on how to tell apart
the different kinds of carpet anemones
and large sea
anemones with long tentacles and large
Carpet food: Carpet anemones
harbour symbiotic single-celled algae (called zooxanthellae). The
algae undergo photosynthesis to produce food from sunlight. The food
produced is shared with the sea anemone, which in return provides
the algae with shelter and minerals. The zooxanthellae are believed
to give the tentacles their brown or greenish tinge. Carpet anemones
may also feed on fine particles that are trapped on their bodies.
The anemones have also been seen swallowing various animals. The sticky
tentacles grab any that blunder or are washed into them. The oral
disk can contract quickly to hold on to the luckless prey, which is
eventually transfered into the central mouth. Some large creatures
that are swallowed up by carpet anemones include fishes and crabs.
More photos of what our carpet anemones have
been seen swallowing.
Haddoni friends: Besides the symbiotic
algae that lives inside the their tentacles several kinds of animals
have been recorded elsewhere as being associated with Haddon's carpet
anemones. These include anemone shrimps (Periclimenes sp.),
and fishes such as Dascyllus trimaculatus and anemonefishes
(Amphiprion sp.) including A. akindynos, A. clarkii, A.
fuscocaudatus, A. polymnus, A. sebae, A. xanthurus. But so far,
the only animals seen living on our Haddon's carpet anemones are the
anemoneshrimp (Periclimenes sp.), Five-spot
anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis).
Other animals have been observed taking shelter under these anemones,
such as crabs and snapping shrimps. Ball
sea cucumbers are often found buried near carpet anemones. Also
seen were Kite
butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus) and Chequered
cardinalfish (Apogon margaritophorus) swimming near, but
not touching, carpet anemones. Sometimes small groups of small Kite
butterflyfishes are seen near carpet anemones.
Stinging carpet! Like other
sea anemones, the carpet anemone has stingers in its tentacles. Generally,
these stings do not hurt human beings, but they can leave welts on
Should I ‘save’ animals trapped in a carpet
anemone? If you do, you will be depriving the anemone of
a meal. It might not get so lucky again for a while. The animal that
you 'saved' might also not survive if it was badly stung by the carpet
Should I feed the anemones? Please
don’t. Carpet anemones know how to feed themselves. You might hurt
the anemone if you put the wrong thing on it. If you put another living
animal on an anemone you will be hurting two animals. Please don't
put objects such as litter or dead crabs on a carpet anemone either.
Carpet of Death: On Chek Jawa,
you might notice that there are many carpet anemones on the hot, dry
sand bar at low tide. Why are they there when they could be in the
cool pools instead? On Chek Jawa, the sand bar is the first to emerge
at low tide and the last to submerge as the tide comes in. As fishes
and other animals enter the lagoon with the incoming tide, or leave
with the outgoing tide, they have to negotiate this minefield of anemones.
Some unlucky creatures might blunder into a Carpet anemone. Carpet
anemones on the sand bar may thus have a better chance of a meal.
High and dry: Carpet anemones
can survive for a short while out of water. To conserve water, the
oral disk shrinks to reduce the surface area and mucus is secreted
to cover the mouth and delicate body parts. Sediment gets stuck to
this mucus, probably providing some shade from the sun. Smaller anemones
may also tuck the oral disk into the body column at low tide. When
the tide comes back, the oral disk furls to the full size.
Can carpet anemones move? Carpet
anemones probably usually stay in one spot. However, they can uproot
themselves and move to a new place. This is probably how they avoid
being buried as the sand bar shifts. If you find an 'uprooted' carpet
anemone, you may place it in a pool of water. There is no need to
Colourful Carpets: Carpet anemones
come in a wide range of colours. Carpet anemones of the same species
may have very different colours, some may even appear striped.
Carpet babies: There is not much
information on how Carpet anemones reproduce. Small carpet anemones
seen on our shores may actually be another species, the Mini
carpet anemone (Stichodactyla tapetum) and not a young
version of the Haddon's carpet anemone.
Human uses: Unfortunately, these
anemones are harvested for the live aquarium trade. Like other animals
harvested for the live aquarium trade, most die before they can reach
the retailers. Without professional care, most die soon after they
are sold. Those that do survive are unlikely to breed successfully.
Chek Jawa, Mar 03
Capturing small fishes by folding
the oral disk over the prey.
Chek Jawa, Feb 02
Spitting out indigestible bits.
Chek Jawa, Jul 02
Some carpet anemones
out on the hot dry sand bar at low tide.
Chek Jawa, Feb 02
Underside of uprooted carpet anemone
Chek Jawa, Jan 04
They can survive out of water for a
short time by shrinking their oral disk.
Chek Jawa, Feb 02
They can also tuck the oral disk
into the body column.
Chek Jawa, May 03
and threats: Carpet anemones are not listed among
the threatened animals of Singapore. However, like other creatures
of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities
such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors,
and over-collection also have an impact on local populations.
Chek Jawa, Jun 05
Distinctive alternating 'long' and 'short'
tentacles at the circumference.
Cyrene, Mar 07
Pulau Sekudu, Feb 07
Chek Jawa, Jun 05
carpet anemones on Singapore shores