Fish-Eating Anemone

Scientific NameUrticina piscivora

Native To Pacific coast (from Alaska to California)

Habitat Tidal pools and offshore

Diet Small fish and invertebrates

Size and Age Up to 26 cm (10 in) in diameter; lifespan estimated to be several decades long

Natural History

While more delicate species of anemones rake in bits of food, the fish-eating anemone has sturdy tentacles that can capture shrimp and small fish. Prey are captured by stinging cells called “nematocysts” located along each tentacle. Each cigar-shaped nematocyst contains a barbed thread that carries venom.

Near Threatened

Conservation Status

Fish-eating anemones live on rocky reefs that are vulnerable to commercial fishing trawls.

Interesting Facts

  • Painted greenling fish have been known to live in the fish-eating anemone’s tentacles; the same way clown fish live in tropical anemones.
  • Anemones have the ability to move around. They can either glide along on their pedal disc foot, or they can completely detach and float away with the tide.
  • When food is plentiful fish-eating anemones will increase in size. When food is scarce they will decrease in size.