Cornwall has some of the most exposed seas in the UK, but below the surface it is hard to believe the colours and life that surrounds this small island stuck in the North Atlantic. Some of the most spectacular life is sometimes small and the tiny jewel anemone is no exception.
They come in every colour of the rainbow; blues, pinks, greens, oranges, pretty much every colour combination imaginable is possible. They can be seen squeezed onto every rock face, especially in areas where there is a strong tidal flow, ideal for feeding. Closely related to corals they can blanket any surface in colour.
The anemones grow in distinct colour patches, mainly due to their asexual reproduction. They divide to reproduce resulting in colours being grouped together. This can produce spectacular fields of colour which glisten in the sunlight below the surface.
Each individual anemone has about 100 translucent tentacles with a white or coloured knob on each tip. The mouth sits in the centre of the tentacles on a cone. The tentacles are usually a different colour to the centre of the creature and the knobs can be any colour again.
The anemones live in deeper water and enjoy a strong current. These anemones were all found on Gull Rock and the Runnel Stone, just off of the Cornish coast near Gwennap Head. Both have strong tidal currents as we discovered on our dive of the Runnel Stone and the wreckage of the City of Westminster sitting at the base of this hazardous lump of rock.
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