Sea Anemone

Sea Anemones  are common between tides and lower on all coasts. They are cylindrical animals, with a mouth surrounded by tentacles at one end. Inside there is a single cavity which serves as a stomach and whose branches run to all parts of the body, thus distributing the food like a blood vessel. The colors, especially in the tropics, are variable, and often gorgeous.
Sea anemones are simply large polyps of more complicated structure than the hydroid polyps. Instead of a simple, baglike, enteric cavity, the slitlike mouth admits food into a flattened gullet which leads to an enlarged digestive cavity. The gullet does not hang free, but is joined to the outer wall of the body by a series of radiating partitions, between which shorter ones extend from the inner  surface of the ectoderm; and below the gullet the stomach wall extends in lobes between these partitions, through which holes permit the nutritive juices to circulate throughout the whole body. The whole upper surface of the polyp is covered by short tentacles arranged in circles. A current of water, induced by waving cilia, is constantly flowing in at one corner of the mouth and out at the other, supplying the animal with oxygen and a certain amount of minute food, and carrying off waste; but the anemones capture by means of their tentacles small fishes, mollusks and everything that can be caught and swallowed. As some anemones exceed a foot in diameter, large and powerful prey may sometimes be taken. It is interesting to note that anemones distinguish very quickly between what is good to eat and what is not. Most of them are sitting near shore on rocks or in tide pools, or are clinging to the larger seaweeds or clustered on the supports of wharves where the waves and tidal currents are continually washing about them, often with much violence, and dashing against them strands of weed or the small wreckage always floating in such a place. None of this is seized, or at least is not swallowed; but whether we are to conclude that this choice is made by intelligence, or only by chemical perception is a matter for study. When harm threatens, or when they crave rest, they withdraw all their gorgeous tentacles, infold them within their mouth, and shrink down into roundish gray lumps that attract neither the eye nor the appetite of any marauder.