Meeting Golden anemone, Condylactis aurantiaca, is always a beautiful event. This anemone also known as sand actinia or sand anemone, lives throughout the Mediterranean Sea and is not always easy to find for the simple fact that divers usually prefer to dive on rocky bottoms, avoiding sandy bottoms. and mud considered less interesting and more boring.
We also try to always dive among the submerged cliffs, but it often happens that we have to cross small stretches of sandy or muddy seabed before reaching the rocks, and during this journey we often meet marine species such as this anemone and as we see from the images and from the video deserves few more analysis.
Condylactis aurantiaca, commonly known as the golden anemone, is a species of sea anemone in the family Actiniidae. This species always remains largely buried in sand or sediment, attached to the substrate, with only the oral disc and tentacles visible.
The column is translucent white with white spots, and grows to approximately 7 centimetres (2.8 in) in diameter. The oral disc may reach 12 centimetres (4.7 in). The overall diameter with the tentacles spread out is around 30 centimetres (12 in). This species usually has five whorls of tentacles, with 96 tentacles present when it is fully developed. The tentacles are each around 8 centimetres (3 in) long, green to yellow in colour, and sometimes greyish. They often have bands of white and other colours, and purple tips. The mouth, in the centre of the oral disc, is purplish.
Distribution and habitat
Condylactis aurantiaca is found only in the Mediterranean Sea in depths of up to 80 metres. The base is attached to a rock, stone or shell and the column immersed in sediment, usually sand or gravel.
Like other sea anemones, this species catches prey with its tentacles which are armed with many cnidocytes, stinging cells which kill the prey. The prey is then transferred by the tentacles to the mouth. This sea anemone reproduces in spring and summer by releasing gametes into the water column where they are fertilised and develop into planula larvae. Alternatively, the gametes can be retained in the body cavity, the larvae being brooded there till the spring.