Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Simple aquarium arithmetic; multiplication and division

Another aquarium post (It's good to be doing these again!)

Among the crabs and shells that we collected on the beach a week ago, was a small stone with an anemone so small that without a lens, it was almost invisible. I noticed it because it felt soft and jelly-like when I picked up the stone.

At home, in the aquarium, it promptly left the stone for more congenial quarters. I saw it next on a bit of eelgrass; then the grass rotted away, and the anemone seemed lost.

A couple of days later, it turned up half way up the glass wall of the aquarium, and has been there ever since, a pale green circle about 3 millimetres across, sometimes waving white tentacles about. Then this morning, there were two, one smaller than the other. The anemone has cloned itself!

The circular bases are warped where the two split apart. 

At first, the two anemones were side by side, but over the day, the smaller one has moved up and away. I think they're the lined anemone, Haliplanella lineata; in ordinary daylight, the original was a green colour, with a hint of orange lines. These are fairly common on Boundary Bay beaches, but are so tiny that they're usually overlooked.

While I was at it, I took a few photos of the damaged burrowing anemone, "Val". It has regenerated the entire circle of tentacles, and has grown a bit, as well. There is still some healing work going on in the mouth area.

Val of the hearty tentacles.

Notice the water currents; the location chosen by the small anemones is in a high current area. I took the photos with the pump going, and you can see the lines made by the bubbles streaking by. Below, on the floor where "Val" sits, there is still movement, but the lines are short, curvy, and chaotic. Just the way Val likes it.

One of the larger, but still small, hairy hermits, in a periwinkle shell.


  1. Lovely pictures, and I'm so pleased your aquarium is thriving! (Also, the first photo of the anemones with the darting background of water bubbles looks like Van Gogh's Starry Night!)

  2. This made me smile.

  3. Science fiction in non-fiction.

  4. Delightful. I love the updates. You can really learn different things if you watch things over time (individuals) vs. just passing by on the beach, and I appreciate your letting us in on this! =)

  5. It's good that your aquarium is doing well. What an exciting even to have the anemone clone itself under your supervision. - Margy

  6. I'm so glad your aquarium is once again made whole. I love these posts!


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