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Green Surf Anemone

Scientific Name Anthopleura xanthogrammica

Native To Northern Pacific coast (from Alaska to southern California)

Habitat Tidal pools, surge channels and near shore

Diet Sea urchins, small fish, clams, mussels and detritus (dead particulate organic matter)

Size and Age Up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter; lifespan of 75 years (under human care)

Natural History

This anemone is green because of its symbiotic relationship with algae. Algae live inside the anemone’s tissue (hence the green colour). Through photosynthesis, the algae can provide nourishment to the anemone.

Near Threatened

Conservation Status

Pollution, such as oil spills and agricultural runoff degrade the habitat of the green surf anemone. Additionally, as ocean levels rise from climate change, it makes the tidal pools these anemones live in unsuitable.

Interesting Facts

  • Green surf anemones sting prey using tentacles surrounding their mouth. Once their prey have been immobilized, they are brought into the anemones mouth and eaten.
  • A drug has been derived from the green surf anemone’s biology, which is useful in combating heart disease.
  • Fish can develop a resistance to anemone stings by coating their body in mucus.