Here’s a digital-only installment of Larry Eifert’s column, Artist’s View: Secrets of the Salish Sea. This one is about one of the largest local anemones.

There are many anemones in the Salish Sea, but this one is one of the most impressive. Sea anemones are animals — carnivores that can move around after their prey. Most stay fairly stationary, but they can actually walk about on suction-cup platforms. Primarily solitary creatures, Giant Green Anemones still spend their lives congregating in prime locations such as rocky reefs and tide pools with mussel beds, since mussels are prime food for them. Think of it as a “food court” where anemones can also dine on crabs, small fish, and sea urchins. 

As its name indicates, this is a large creature — a foot wide. It waves big stinging tentacles in search of food that gets close enough to become dinner. This animal has a symbiotic or mutual relationship with algae that lives in its tissues and creates its beautiful green color. So, the animal isn’t green, the algae is. 

We all enjoy tidepooling after getting the boat anchored for the night, and this anemone could be a prize worth finding along the rocky low tide trek – but leave it be. Tread lightly on your explorations because this is one of the creatures most affected and currently being loved to death by heavy-footed and swift-fingered visitors. Take a photo, not the anemone.