While scuba diving at many dive sites in the Pacific Northwest, divers will notice groups of creatures with long tapering bodies and short frilled tentacles on the top. Many times, divers new to Puget Sound mistake them for some kind of plant, but they are actually an animal referred to as a plumose anemone, Metridium senile, and its larger cousin, Metridium farcimen. Their coloring can be white, orange, brown, or even tan or cream. A single plumose anemone is always one even solid color.
Colonies of plumose anemone can bee seen anchored to rocks, pilings, or sunken boats. Solitary, larger plumose anemone can be found anchored to the silty bottom areas of dive sites down to 120’. The colonies are incredibly beautiful, and underwater photographers can get dramatic shots by staying lower than the plumose anemone and photographing up towards the water surface.
Plumose anemone feed by catching small organisms floating past in the current. If accidentally bumped by a diver, they will fold in their tentacles and close up. Reproduction can be both sexual or asexual, with colonies of hundreds from the same individual being reported. Next dive tour, make sure to slow down and appreciate these beautiful creatures right here in Northwest waters.