A filter feeder of the deep ocean
More than a kilometre beneath the waves, an anemone waits for a hapless creature to float by its tentacles.
This Venus flytrap anemone – a large anemone that catches tiny prey with its tentacles – lives on bamboo coral deep on the eastern slope of Kingman Reef in the North Pacific, about halfway between Hawaii and American Samoa. The anemone’s resemblance to the carnivorous plant is only superficial.
It was photographed recently by the Okeanos Explorer, a ship run by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to explore the unknown depths of the ocean.
Okeanos Explorer travels from place to place and lowers its remote-controlled submersible the Deep Discoverer, which packs lights and high-definition cameras that can survive the crushing pressure at depths of up to 6 kilometres, to have a look around beneath the waves.
During a mission, the output from the cameras is streamed live online.