Parasitic Anemone (Calliactis Parasitica)
Latin name: Calliactis parasitica
Common name: Parasitic anemone
Distribution: Mediterranean, Atlantic, Irish Sea, English Channel.
Behaviour: The anemone lives in symbiosis with the hermit crab (eupagurus anachoretus) : As on the picture on the right one or more anemones attach themselves to the shell which the hermit crab has on its back. The anemone benefits from being carried around to new food sources and obtains food from the crab's feeding activities. The anemone protects the hermit crab from enemies. When enemies are near or the crab is prodded, the anemone extends its stingy tentacles (as shown in the picture). When the hermit crab changes shells it might even wait next to its old shell until the anemone moves along to its new shell. Both anemones and hermit crabs can also exist separately from each other.
Size: Up to 8cm, tentacles reaching up to 3cm.
Colour: Grey, brownish, with light stripes; light or translucent tentacles.