Painted Anemone    Urticina crassicornis



The painted anemone is one of the largest of the sea anemones ranging to 8 inches in diameter.  In addition to its' size, the red stripes on its tentacles and mottled red and tan on its body makes it easily to recognizable.  Its' long tapering tentacles are designed to catch large, active prey such as fish, mollusks, urchins and crabs. Attached to low intertidal and shallow sub-tidal rocks, it waits patiently for unsuspecting animals to blunder into it's stinging tentacles.  Once a tentacle is touched and their stinging cells are fired, nearby tentacles assist in the capture by rapidly swinging toward the prey and locking it in an embrace that is almost impossible to escape from.


The painted anemone ranges from Alaska to southern California where it is commonly found attached to a rock or other hard object in the low intertidal to shallow subtidal areas to a depth of 100 ft.


An ancient linage, the painted anemone is a cousin to a wide variety of simple animals called the Cnidaria. Sack like, these animals are composed of an outer protective skin, a middle layer of muscle along with supporting tissue and an inner layer of digestive cells.  Other Cnidaria are hydras, jellyfish and corals. They are mainly predators. However some of them, including some sea anemones, have photosynthetic microscopic algae in their cells from which they obtain nutrients.