Despite their plant-like appearance and being named after the terrestrial flower, sea anemones are actually predatory animals that can be found both in deep oceans and in shallow coastal waters worldwide.
This image of a young Nematostella vectensis polyp, seen here in side view, was taken by Anniek Stokkermans, a PhD student in the Ikmi group at EMBL Heidelberg. It shows two of the characteristic tentacles as well as the gaping mouth of the animal. As sea anemones have an incomplete gut, the mouth also functions as an anus: waste and undigested matter is excreted through this opening. In addition, sea anemones breed by liberating sperm and eggs through the mouth into the water.
This image was taken with a confocal microscope, and shows cell nuclei (blue), muscles (red), and the protein actin (white) both in the cell cytoskeleton and in longitudinal and circular muscle fibres.
Credit: Anniek Stokkermans/EMBL
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