Highly venomous ocean predator is exquisitely beautiful

This sea anemone is a nocturnal feeder that opens up in the darkness and spreads its tentacles out in a quest for food. It will sting and ensnare crabs, fish, and even sea urchins. The tentacles are covered with nematocysts, or sting cells that inject a powerful toxin, capable of paralyzing prey. The stunned creatures are then drawn toward the anemone's mouth and ingested. This creature is as beautiful as it is deadly. The waving tentacles dance continuously in the current, making the anemone resemble a coral or a plant. Anemones are animals and although they are quite stationary for most of their lives, they are capable of movement. It is almost imperceptibly slow, but they are able to burrow and move through sand or over hard surfaces to which they have anchored. This scuba diver was exploring the reef and the beach at night in Tonga. The world after dark is beautiful and strange, and many creatures that are hidden by day come out to hunt or feed in the night. This anemone remains closed up while the sun shines. Anemones here covered a stretch of sand that appeared barren in the daytime. Fish seemed aware of the danger and although they avoided contact with the stinging tentacles, many used the anemones for cover or protection from predators. Some fish have a slime that ins not protein based and the anemone does not recognize them as food. They are able to swim among the tentacles, enjoying the safety that is offered. The ocean is full of wonderful and fascinating life if we dare to enter and explore. But we must also recognize that even the smallest of creatures will often have a means of defense and understanding this, we are best to avoid contact with most of the creatures in this world.

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