Look, but don’t touch!

Published May 07, 2008

Anemones have stinging cells called nematocysts.Sea anemones and touch: The sea anemone’s acute sense of touch has two very important roles – feeding and protection. Tentacles surround the end of the anemone’s body and mouth and each is lined with nematocysts, or stinging cells. Small sensory hairs on these cells can detect even the slightest touches and subtlest vibrations in the water. When the anemone senses prey – or a potential predator – it triggers the release of venom-laden, harpoon-like structures, paralyzing the food or enemy! Only the clownfish is immune to the sea anemone’s sting.

 

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