Sargasso Anemone – Anemonia melanaster
The Sargasso Anemone, also known as Staranemone, belongs to the order of the Sea Anemones and is thus part of the class of the Anthozoa. Anemonia melanaster was first described in 1826 by Risso. According to this source, Anemonia melanaster and Anemonia sargassensis are synonyms for the same species.
The Sargasso Anemone has a reddish-brown base colouration with light streaks ranging from the oral disc to the beginning of the tentacles and sometimes even further. Variations in colour are possible.
The tentacles are arranged irregular, in four or five circles. Furthermore, they are relatively pointed towards the end.
The oral disc reaches a size of 8-25mm, while the mouth
Foot disc can be 10-20mm in diameter.
Habitat and Distribution
Anemonia melanaster is found on almost every ground. They are found both on sandy and rocky ground, in caves, tidal pools and sea grass meadows.
When diving in the Canaries you can observe them frequently.
Their distribution area extends in the western Atlantic from Bermuda, across the Caribbean Sea to Brazil. In the eastern Atlantic it is known from the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands and the coast of Senegal. They are probably also found on the European and African coasts between the macaronesian islands.
So far I have seen the Sargasso Anemone only solitaire in night dives. In some photos, however, you can also see several individuals together.